Sunday, 7 May 2017

Honeybee swarm at Cranford Park

After yesterdays disastrous butterfly count (a big fat zero) I decided to try again this afternoon.
The weather forecast was for warm winds and sunshine, and for once it was correct.
I had a very good 80 minute transect resulting in 24 butterflies of eight species.....
Red Admiral  x 1
Green-veined White x 5
Speckled Wood x 1
Holly Blue x 8
Peacock x 1
Brimstone x 2
Orange Tip x 5
Comma x 1
What a change from yesterday.
Below are two photos of the same Holly Blue. This is a female with the dark border on her outer wings......

The wood circle was as productive as always with another lovely view of a Common Cardinal beetle.....
and one of the Mistle Thrushes that I suspect are nesting in the big oak....

The most prolific hoverflies this afternoon were the common Marmalade flies (Episyrphus balteaus)

The hoverfly larvae that I found yesterday were still there, though I could only find seven compared to yesterdays 13.......

and I found one eating an aphid....

As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the local bee keeper had already predicted that there will be honeybee swarms within the next few weeks. I always check the wild hives that I know of, but I wasn't expecting what I found today.
As I was walking down one of the grassy paths in the Headlands area, I heard the buzzing before I saw them. A large cloud of honeybees were hovering above the path in front of me before moving to a nearby small oak tree. I waited until they all settled in to that wonderful rugby ball shape and then called Alan and Betty, the beekeepers.
They arrived within the hour and luckily for all of us, the swarm had settled at head height so no need for any ladders or precarious perching.....

As a reward I received a lovely large jar of honey.....

The last swarm they removed last year (from the ivy atop the Secret Garden wall) they still have and Alan said it is a very strong colony with healthy disease resistant wild honeybees. They may or may not keep this new swarm. If they don't they will relocate it over a mile away to stop it returning to the woods.
Although swarms look fairly 'menacing' the honeybees are completely harmless during this time. They've recently fed and are just following the Queen. They're more interested in that than they are in any human that happens to be passing.
There are still four wild colonies that I'm aware of and again Alan has asked if us regular park visitors keep our eyes peeled over the next few weeks. As mentioned before, if you do see a swarm please contact me on and I can forward any sightings to Alan or Betty.

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