Saturday, May 12, 2012

Backyard Bees

Last night Lil' Mama said, "Hey!  Look at the rabble of bees in the yard!"

"Honey, no one cares about the erst of bees in the yard."  I snarked.  (I might be a little grouch, lately.  Or all the time.)  And then, "OH!!!  Run for your lives!"  It was an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Huge clusters of bees swirling around one of our trees.  Handsome Prince bravely walked among them as I huddled the children inside and ran to call the realtor--we obviously can't live here anymore--there are BEES!!!  (A whole bike of them!)

"Come in, quick!  You're gonna get stung!!!"  But even as I was hollering at the Prince through a tiny crack in the door, the balloon of bees slowly grew smaller and more compact until they all settled into a family bee-ball on one of the branches.

I began to alert the neighbors and the local fire department.

My little fantasy--no worries!
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and HP said, "They're honey bees.  Let's see if we can find a beekeeper who would want them."  Oh.  Plus, he really wasn't getting stung.  

I googled it.  Who knew?  There was an entire web site with a gajillion names to call.  Crazy people who were begging for us to let them have our stand of killer bees.

So, we called one beekeeper and he gleefully abandoned his cart at Home Depot and raced over with three of his kids and a cute little beehive box.

 Then, he just held the box under the tree and sort of gently knocked the entire cast of bees into it.  The sections in the center of the box were covered in bee's wax. This made the bees very happy. They rejoiced in their new little bee villa.  We were all just standing right there, watching the little buggies move in.  They ignored us completely.
Then all 10,000 of them (more or less--that's what the beekeeper estimated) stuck their little bee butts up in the air and started fanning and buzzing informative pheromone messages to all the scouts out there, uh, scouting around for a new home.  It was beautiful!
Did I mention that we all just stood around, really, really close, and watched the entire thing.
No one got stung!!!
Our bee guy explained that when a bee colony gets too large, they create another queen and split up.  Then, the ones moving out have a gigantic Thanksgiving dinner--honey--and they swarm away.  This group of fat and friendly little buzzers had decided to call it a night after shopping around all day,  and thought our tree looked like a nice enough place.  They had just settled in when a better opportunity just popped up out of thin air.  (Imagine finding one the right size AND it already had wax!  Honey, quick!  Make an offer!)

When most of the stragglers were gathered, our beekeeper gently helped them to get into the box.

 He recommend that they use the front door from now on, and to emphasize the point, he put the roof on.

The glove got a few stings.

 He told us that one hive like this could produce about 5 gallons of honey.  It takes two of these to feed the bees for the winter, so he'll stack 4 or 5 on top of each other, leave the first two for the bees, and then harvest the rest.  Fascinating.  The beekeeper called them low maintenance pets that keep on giving.
 When the roof was on, he left for about an hour, so that any little lost bees could join the group before he carted them home.

I now have a Handsome Prince who would like to start a new hobby. I told him he could do whatever he wants when I am six feet under...

**Wikipedia, the ultimate source of all knowledge states that a group of bees can be called the following:
bike of bees. 
cluster of bees. 
cast of bees. 
drift of bees. 
An erst of bees. 
game of bees. 
rabble of bees. 
stand of bees.

** Little factoids from our bee expert:

Boy bees can't sting.
When a bee stings, it dies.
A queen bee costs $40-$50 because you have to overnight it.
Our elementary school had a swarm like ours happen a couple of years ago and he had to cut down part of the tree to get them--they were a bit more excited that day.  (Several children were stung.)


Jeri said...

That was beeautiful. I am sure you were beefuddled when you were beefriended by those beedeviled bees that used to beelong to some other beefed-up bee keeper. rr

Shennie said...

fascinating! We saw a swarm just like this out in front of our hotel in.... Ohio maybe... so much cooler to see them find a real home (that's not in your tree).

Jeri said...

Soo cool and BEZARREE!

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