"Atholl Palace is a wonderful place to visit. The staff are very helpful and polite, nothing is a problem! The food is amazing and the rooms are made up daily. This is great for either a weekend break or stay for a week. Great for couples or families. The spa is also brilliant and relaxing. Book now and stay, you won't be disappointed!"
The 2nd week in July was a tremendously hot week peaking on the Friday at more than 30deg and on that Friday afternoon bees,temporarily, took over the Palace!
For longer than anyone can remember the hotel has hosted a hive of honey bees in an opening above the managerís office. They go about their business of gathering pollen, pollinating a huge variety of flowers and generally maintaining their colony year after year without attracting much attention. But a prolonged spell of warm weather can trigger a large, healthy colony into an activity which initially, and to the uninformed, can seem terrifying....and so it was on that Friday afternoon. 10ís of thousands of bees emerged and began to swarm about the main hotel entrance. Experts immediately offered advice. The hotel should be closed, the police called, fire brigade, Rentokil......and just as things were getting a little hectic a proper expert arrived, a guest who kept many bees and was very familiar with what was going on. He immediately restored calm with his own behaviour amongst the buzzing thousands and quickly onlookers, too, became calm and began to enjoy the wonderful spectacle they were witnessing. What we were all watching was a very natural spectacle, a swarm, the beeís way of propagating their colony. Professional bee keepers I apologise, but here is a quick guide to the honey bee swarm.
All honey bee colonies have one queen who lays all the eggs to keep a healthy colony going. When the colony is thriving and out-growing its home the bees cultivate some cells which contain new, young queens. Just before they emerge, if the weather is warm and settled, the old queen makes off with about half the colonyís workers to establish a new hive somewhere else. This is not a random thing, scouts will have been out and about in previous days looking for a suitable location to establish a new colony. So when the colony is getting ready to swarm away, as you can imagine, rather a lot of bees can be in the air at once and when this is very close to a place where many people are gathering then excitement/fear/panic can result....but as I said earlier a very calm and knowledgeable bee keeper was on hand and many of us had a really wonderful time listening, enjoying, learning, wondering at this spectacle of nature. Swarming bees are loaded with honey for their new home and they donít have brood to defend so normally they are quite placid and can be watched without fear.
Without bees we would have no fruit or vegetables or nuts, all the flowers need to be pollinated and the little honey bee does a huge amount of this work. Bees are in desperate trouble due to disease and excessive use of pesticides. We really do need bees so whatever you do in your garden make it bee friendly. Encourage them and enjoy them and donít ever be tempted to poison a wild hive without taking the fullest and best advice on the matter....that should go for wasps too. Far, far too many wasps bikes are poisoned without much thought. Wasps are good for the garden so next time a wasp is visiting you as you sit out in the garden donít immediately feel the urge to find itís bike and squirt some noxious brew into it....watch it, enjoy it and marvel at its work ethic and cleverness and if you have a quiet time over the weekend then cut a cube of pate and place it on your garden table....sit back and enjoy the wasp at work and I promise, you will never treat waspy the same again!! Innes