Infanticide. Or perhaps better termed eggicide. Or even chickicide. It has all been happening at home whilst we are still in Scotland.

Mike, our friendly house sitter, has had to report the tragic, malicious, wanton destruction of a nest of fertile eggs, by the very hen that had virtually pleaded to be allowed to sit on them. Nearly all of our hens at one time or another go broody. I don’t encourage them. Any sign of persistent nest box hogging of eggs laid by other hens, an aggrieved ruffling of feathers when expelled from the nest and especially a breast plucked clean of feathers to generate warmth to incubate the eggs, and they are summarily evicted back out into the field. Much squawking ensues.

I had given two hens permission to go broody after I was offered some lovely chocolate brown eggs. Indeterminate breed. Fortunately the other hen is still sticking doggedly, or more appropriately broodily, to the nest.

These two hens had been comfortably settled (I thought), in a shed by the entrance to the big grain store. Mike’s checking of the broods,was somewhat circumscribed by the appearance two days ago of a large swarm hanging from one of the sliding doors.

As Mike is not a bee expert, and rather concerned at the possibility of being stung, I advised him to contact two friends who keep bees. Neither had any spare hives, and both know, as does John, that swarms collected at this time of year will not have very long to build up honey supplies to feed them all winter.As the saying goes, a swarm in July isn’t worth a fly.

But this swarm hasn’t read the rule book or heard of the saying. Hanging from the door of the grain store was a very fortuitous place to be. In the shed is where John stores all his beekeeping equipment. And also, just by chance, an empty bee hive.

The worker bees in this particular swarm probably couldn’t believe their luck when, on their scouting expedition for a new home, they came across this des res. With the larder already stocked. Neither could Mike.

The bees new home presents no threat to him at all, situated as it is well away from the shed doors. No wonder bees are credited with great intelligence.