After a cool, slow start to this Spring, today’s above-80 degree warmth was welcome. Just as the sunshine stirred human bodies, our bees’ activity increased. Richard visited the farm this afternoon and noticed one hive was just about to swarm . . quickly, he drove to a fellow beekeeper’s home, a dear friend of ours, to pick up a new hive, loaded with frames. As he hurried back to Heart & Sole, he prayed he would not be too late to capture the swarming bees.
Just after Richard arrived, he saw some of the bees “dancing” on the porch of their packed hive. Two Queens resided inside and only one could remain. As Richard watched in amazement, one of the Queens exited the hive, accompanied by a mass of bees. They flew over his head and settled in a nearby tree, thankfully, one that was very small. Richard placed the new hive close to the swarm and called me to ask if I would bring a set of shears so he could cut the tree and move the swarm close to the hive, in hopes of enticing the Queen to take up residence there.
When I arrived at the farm, I was in awe of the beautiful, tangled mass of honeybees. Richard and I stood very close to them and neither of us were bothered by the bees zipping by our heads and around our bodies. Richard donned his bee suit, tried to ignore the day’s heat, and took the cutters to attempt to gently remove the swarm from the tree.
I captured on film what has to be one of the most textbook-perfect swarm “takes” ever witnessed and I was very proud of Richard’s skill, especially since he underwent minor surgery at the dermatologist’s office just hours before and had been cautioned to “not stretch, strain or pull” his back! The bees calmly (we have such sweet bees!) settled in front of the hive and, as Richard began a rhythmic tapping on the side of the box, began to explore their new home. When the Queen finally entered the hive, we breathed a sigh of relief.
Honeybees are an important part of our farm’s balance and we depend upon these powerful pollinators to help produce better crop yields. We love the bees and regard them as “working pets.” Last year, a hive was stolen and we were distraught. We still think of the “Brookshire Bees” and hope they are alive and well. Each of our hives is named and today’s swarm came from “Danny’s Bees,” named after the man who called Richard last year to retrieve a swarm from his backyard. We haven’t yet named the newest addition to our brood, but will do so in the next day or so. If you have a suggestion, please send it along!