One of us always does a walk round the cottage at night.  The gates are closed, the cat food is topped up, the eggs are collected and the status of the chicken’s food, water and general state of insanity is checked.  On these nice summer evenings an additional item is added to the list; kneeling down and placing an ear to the hives.  On a day like today the ‘flow’ is in full motion and the bees bring in lots of nectar.  On these nights the hive gives off a soft whirring noise as the air is circulated to turn the nectar into honey.  The two hives we have here at the cottage are not strong hives at the moment and should both have virgin queens (possibly a mated queen).  Grelder and her swarm are still banished to another site for a little while.

By my calculations one of the hives should have an emerging queen (or two queens as I left two queen cells in the hive).  Tonight I put my ear to this hive and a strange sound came from the dark inners of the box.  I could not believe my ears!  I thought I knew what it was but never suspected I would be lucky enough to hear it.  The noise was being given off my a newly emerged queen and it is called ‘tooting’  in beek lingo (where beek means beekeeper in beekeeper lingo).

The first sound on the video below is not the tooting of the queen bee but is actually the meowing of one of the cats that follow us like dogs as we walk around the cottage.  Although I do think she believes herself to be a queen.  Very soon the lovely Sharon was out to listen and we both found ourselves on our knees with an ear to the hive with nerdy grins on our faces.  I am glad to add at this point that the lovely Sharon is half way through the first book of her summer reading list:  “The Bad Beekeeper’s Club” by Bill Turnbull and she seem to be loving it.

The tooting sound is the new queen calling to other possible queens in the hive and basically saying “Come on! I’ll Fight you now!”  So, listening to the hive on this halcyon summer evening sounds like it is tranquil and calming, but in fact we are listening to a call to arms for a fight to the death.  May the best queen win?

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