Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A Load of Hay or a Silver Spoon

Late spring is the time you can encounter swarms of Honey Bees Apis mellifera in the forest here. They can be rather alarming if you hear them before you see them, especially if you are just mooching about minding your own business. A steadily increasing hum coming from above and behind is never reassuring.

A few days after I photographed this swarm in early June last year, on the edge of the forest between Boussay and Yzeures, our neighbour called me over to look at a small swarm in her apricot tree.
However, you don't really have much to worry about. Swarming bees are not generally considered dangerous, as they are not protecting their precious honeycomb store of bee larval food. These bees will find a hollow tree to set up a new home or sometimes make a free hanging wax comb in the forest.

Honey Bees are not really native to Europe, but like the Carp in the rivers, they have been here so long (many centuries) they are naturalised and do not cause any particular problems in the wild here (unlike in America and Australia, where they out compete the native bees).

The French for a swarm of bees is un essaim d'abeilles.
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Points: 2 points will be awarded to anyone who can tell me where the title of this blog post comes from.
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Quiz Results: PG, Carolyn and RiF all clearly know the rhyme that the title comes from so 2 points to all of them, plus a bonus point to PG for getting there first. The full rhyme is:

A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.

4 comments:

  1. See my comment on "Our French Adventure" yesterday!

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  2. A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay. A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon. Probably I read this during my anglophile period, maybe in The Countryman.



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  3. A 17th century proverb and children's rhyme learnt and taught at school...
    A swarm of bees in July
    Is not worth a fly... meaning it is too late to harvest honey!

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  4. I did wonder about the title. Now I know!

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