in our back garden. They have been there for two days now. They are industrious and remarkably noisy.
We left them alone - hoping they would move on of their own accord - but they appear to want to settle in the creeper vine which covers the old shade house. That means that this morning we need to call in a beekeeper. These bees need to be moved on and only a professional beekeeper can do that without harming them.
We are doing this reluctantly because we are fully aware of the value of bees and the fact that bee numbers have dropped around the world. In some places their numbers are so low that there is real concern for their survival. We would like to offer these bees a home simply for that reason.
We know the bees have been attracted by not just the creeper vine but the lavender and other bee delights in our garden and the neighbour's garden. The very fact that they have arrived and want to settle in tells us that we have done something right in the garden. The problem is that there are other living things which also need to be protected, especially small children and animals.
When we lived on Kangaroo Island we were introduced to the Ligurian bees which were then housed in Flinders Chase - the sanctuary at one end of the island. A bee sanctuary was established there in 1884 with bees were brought out from Italy in the early 1880s. They are thought to be the last remaining pure strain but even they are under threat. They have been known since Roman times and have the advantage of being much more docile than many strains of bee. Great efforts are being made to not just maintain the colonies there but to export bees to other area in the hope of re-establishing bees.
Although they seem friendly enough (in that we have not been bitten) these will not be Ligurian bees but they are valuable bees.
My father, who tries to be an organic gardener, is very conscious of the bee crisis. He will be watching today's bee removal very anxiously. The apiarist says he will be here within the hour.
I am very glad such people exist to take care of such small but valuable creatures.