16 JULY 1948, Page 14

Greedy Bees I arrived the other day at an East

Anglian house at the edge of a country town to find my hosts busy with preparations for taking a swarm of bees suspended from the branch of an apple tree. The swarm was very large, but it was jerked off successfully into an inverted skep, and in the evening persuaded to enter a proper hive. Some modern beekeepers are inclined to dispute the old tag, "A swarm in July is not worth a fly," as contrasted with the high value of a swarm in May, since even the early swarm is hardly likely to yield a crop of honey that season. However, the July swarming has very obvious drawbacks. Those bees on the apple tree, being very numerous, had devoured pretty well all the large amount of honey that had been stored. They would not themselves provide honey for the current season and had left the old cupboard bare. Doubtless the cold spell had also contributed to the consumption of the honey-pots.