WHILE the rest of the country may be in lockdown, the countryside certainly isn’t and our lanes are full of vehicles trundling off to spray wheat, barley and oil seed rape.

Busy too are our bees. A hundred acres of spring beans just outside the village has come into full flower and the heavy scent and promise of nectar is irresistible to them.

In theory fungicides do not present a major problem to honey bees.

There is a constant evolution in research to identify and produce new pest control methods that are bee and environmentally-friendly.

Systemic neonic application to seed prior to planting has replaced the need to spray with organophosphates and pesticides in some situations, definitely a bee bonus.

But I am no expert and just pleased that John has always been careful not to use any spray application at a time or place that might cause harm to bees.

This is peak time for bee swarms and just yesterday John was able to provide the perfect new home for a swarm.

The field of spring beans is close by and anticipating that this might provide an attraction to bees in need of a new home, John had already brought a spare hive to the field edge.

Moving the hive next to the swarm, he placed a ramp of wood from ground level to the hive entrance. Then carefully cutting the branch off the bush with the ball of bees still intact, he lowered the swarm onto the board.

Then, just like the procession into Noah’s Ark, though not necessarily two by two, the worker bees walked up into the hive, escorting their queen in royal progress.

John seems obsessed with his bees at the moment. Just last week, needing a new queen for a hive where he thought the old queen may have died, we ordered a new one. Yes. You can buy a queen bee online.

As a man who spurned the internet and was highly critical of my online habit, John took remarkably swiftly to online grocery shopping as it stopped me, he reasoned, wandering off to the supermarket for trifling odds. And, he has also recognised its potential as an effective shopping tool for all things related to bees and fishing.

Meanwhile, leaving the barn, a strange white clad figure with helmet and face covering is not headed off to join the International Space Station in SpaceX. He’s gone to check his bees.