I met an interesting lady on the aeroplane today who told me that her mother kept bees on the Island of Jersey.
When the bees started to swarm, her mother used to tell all her children (she had eight!) to run into the garden with pots and pans and bash them as hard as they could and make as much noise as they could, so that the bees would settle and not fly away. Her mother would then gather the bees up and put them back in the hive. She said it really worked.
I said I was not sure if the bees would naturally go back into their old hive if they have swarmed….to which she said that maybe her mother put them in a new hive.
There is a technical word for this banging of pots and pans – which is called “Tanging” – a descrption of which is in Simon Buxton’s book – The Shamanic Way of the Bee.
I also found this older reference:
Above is a plate from a Dutch book showing tanging.
“In this late 17th-century engraving from a book printed in Amsterdam, a swarm can be seen coming out of one of the straw hives or ‘skeps’ in the middle of the picture. A beekeeper stands to the right and hits what looks like a metal pan or drum in a procedure known as ‘tanging’. Tanging would alert the neighbourhood that bees are swarming and its rhythmic sound would help coax the bees into the overturned hive in the foreground. This empty hive would also have been lined with honey in order to entice the bees to take up residence within it”
“Tanging was also a way for a beekeeper to alert other beekeepers that a claim was being made on a found swarm. Acquiring new bees by laying claim to a swarm was important, as it was routine at this time for beekeepers to asphyxiate their bees with fumes from burning sulphur in order to access the honeycomb safely.”
I am interested to know if any readers have heard of this ritual and any other reasons that beekeepers might do it.
Plate and text in quotation marks from: http://www.nls.uk/moir/tanging.html