Monday, May 28, 2012

Swarmin' Season Again and I Have Nothing to Wear

Well, the day before my fancy Ultrabreeze bee suit was scheduled to arrive, Hive #1 decided to swarm. How inconvenient.

Hive #1-The Ladies Honey Collective- had been very busy recently and there was always a crowd around the entrance when the weather was nice so I had suspected they were building up a force for swarming.

I was just finishing up a project at the Art Shack and was about to drive into town when our Good Friend who watches the Homestead when Buck and I are not there, came up the hill and told me that the bees were making an amazing amount of noise.

The weather was sunny that day, but rain was forecast for the rest of the week and I suppose the bees decided it was now or never.

I walked down and sure enough, the familiar tornado of bees were leaving the hive and hovering in the air.

At first they seemed to be settling in the top of the oak tree behind Hive #1. My heart sank. Not only could I not capture this swarm because I did not care to wear my old flimsy (cheap) bee suit and end up in the hospital again, but NO ONE would be able to get them if they are at the top of that tree.

I phoned down to our son Jake and asked if by some chance my new bee suit had arrived "Let me look.... Nope"

As we spoke, the cloud of bees began to get closer to the ground and started clumping on a Scotch broom branch. Now SOMEONE could catch them....
Out of desperation I said to Jake "I don't suppose you would do me a huge favor and come get this swarm? It's not hard and I have all the gear you need here (Bucks bee suit)." I hate to admit it, but I'm sure I was doing a little whine. I soooo wanted to keep this swarm.

To my surprise Jake thought for a moment and said "Sure."

A little back story. As a child Jake grew up playing and rambling on the weekends here at the Homestead, but since heading off to college, Jake has been living in major cities until he moved back in February. He has zero experience with bees.
He drove up (luckily the swarm stayed put for the 45 minutes), suited up and followed my directions, just like he had done it a 100 times. Pretty brave huh? (OK, I am pretty impressed by my son).

He deftly pulled the swarm into my pre-made bee box and while they rested in the shade, we went up and moved the empty Hive #2 to a less vulnerable place on the property. It is now surrounded by 25 acres of our own timberland, so hopefully it cannot receive any toxic drift from our neighbors.
Then Jake calmly re-hived them.
He's a natural!
I (of course) filmed the event. You can watch it on youtube at:

Unfortunately my film makes it impossible for me to convince Buck that I stayed "far away from the bees". I did try though. And I did have two layers of clothes under my bee suit. I just about boiled to death.
But, not a single sting for anyone that day. Perfect.

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