19 JUNE 1953, Page 18

Swarming Bees

As sure as summer comes and heat rises on the roads and May blossom is out, the bees swarm. I thought about it when we settled the colonies at the end of the path near the disused pighouse, and now, with that hot summer's day upon us, there was the swarm, thick and heavy in the crotch of a small apple tree. The time had come to test my nerve, to see whether inwardly believed what I had been saying about bees ignoring the hand that is calm and steady, the person who radiates fearlessness. 1 felt that I was showing a certain lack of confidence in putting on the undersize Homburg hat with the wire ,m8sh and veil as well as a pair of gauntlet gloves. In an hour, when I had found the gauntlets too warm, I was bare-handed with my face down among the swarm as I helped it into the box of frames, tapping the tree to encourage the mass to move along. When all was done and they were safely hived, I threw away the hat and net. Not once had I been stung. Bees had been on my hands and neck and I had gently guided them to the box. I began seriously to believe what I had been saying without real conviction for almost a year.