Thursday, 21 May 2015

'Buzzing bee in a pocket' block

We've had some excitement over the last couple of weeks with bees. We came back one afternoon to find probably about 50 bees buzzing around our back door and going in and out of holes in the stone work at the edge of the door frame. There were probably about another 50 that had presumably got a bit lost and managed to find their way into our bathroom, which is directly above the back door. As much as we love bees, I wasn't keen to have them nesting in our wall, right next to the back door. So I got in touch with a local bee keeper, who came out to us with a 'bait hive'. By the time she arrived the bees had disappeared for the night, and she explained that the bees we'd seen were probably 'scout' bees who'd come out searching for a prospective new home for the swarm. She left the bait hive with us (level, off the ground, somewhere not too hot but catching the morning sun, and also near to the back door) and suggested that we block up the holes in the stonework which the bees had already been investigating. (The children thought it was very amusing when she said - 'You don't happen to have any fabric pieces around the house, do you? That might be the easiest thing to use to block those holes temporarily.' Happily I managed to find a couple of fabric pieces!) So then we waited to see what would happen. 

The very next morning the bees were back, buzzing around the blocked up holes and possibly not too impressed that they couldn't get back inside (hard to tell whether a bee is not impressed though). But literally within a couple of minutes several of them were off exploring the new bait hive, about 3 or 4 metres away. And within another couple of minutes there were many more heading that way to check it out. It was fascinating to watch them.

They were buzzing around madly all day, but we didn't see a swarm at all. The beekeeping lady explained that it might take them a good few days to make up their mind. Apparently bees are very democratic and considered in their decision making, and many, many bees will come out for second, third or fourth viewings to be sure the property is the one for them.

So we carried on watching and waiting. Every day after that the bees were buzzing around consistently, going in and out of the hive. After just over a week the lady thought it was safe to assume that they had properly moved in, sadly I think we must have been out when they swarmed in full. We would have loved to have seen that. And yesterday evening she came along to check and take them back to her place. When she removed the lid, they were all settled in and looking very at home,(although the children were worried about late comers who were still arriving in dribs and drabs as she secured the hive, hopefully we got them all tucked up in the end), and so off they went with her, back to their new place. We were very sad to see them go, and have missed them today, it hasn't felt quite right to not see and hear them going about their business as usual. Theo and I have frequently thought we'd like to keep bees one day, and having them here temporarily has definitely increased our interest.

Anyway, the 'making' point of this story is that I had been dithering slightly about what to put in Maria's last few quilt blocks, and a bee had been one option. As soon as our own bee excitement began, that decision was made, there definitely had to be a bee.

So here it is, another pocket block, and you can just see the bee peeking out here...

He's on a long strip of giant ricrac, and you might be able to see his pocket is made of honey comb, hexie fabric, his favourite!

I might give him some eyes too, I haven't quite decided yet.
And, of course, the bee needed some flowers, so that was the next block...

A lift the flap block for this one...

So another two down, three left to go still.



  1. What an exciting time with the bees. And how fun to have them in your yard for a little while.

    Love the quilt blocks, this quilt is going to be amazing!!!!

  2. I am so glad that the bees took to the bait hive instead of your home; what a wonderful outcome. And the bee with flowers looks like a great addition for the quilt. :)

  3. Oh how exciting- I'm glad they found a better home than the bathroom though! And the block is lovely - she's going to have so much fun playing with all the flaps and pockets!

  4. What a great story to go with the quilt. Do you have fabric.... I laughed. I love the idea of having bees but haven't committed to it quite yet.

  5. I always think your work has a back story Sally, and this is a prime example! Love the story of the bees, they are fascinating creatures. Interested to read that your other half is Theo; we almost called our youngest Theo, but in the end chose Isaac, which was the other main contender. Still love the name though X

  6. What an interesting experience with the bees, Sally. It would have been fascinating to watch. This is going to be one awesome quilt. Gingham is the perfect background fabric for the beautiful flowers and the bee in the honeycomb pocket is such a fun block - so creative.

  7. Love those quilt blocks!
    And very exciting about the bees! We have had a few incidents with swarms coming through and scouting around our place (spring and late autumn too) I've never seen the bait hive before but if it happens in the spring I might investigate seeing if the local bee keeper could lend us one. Last time they came through we had about 3 hours where we couldn't go out the back at all as there were literally a couple of hundred or more buzzing about - cool but slightly intimidating!


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