...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)



We were just sitting around relaxing when something caught my eye Friday night.
There was a honeybee swarm waaaaaaaaaaaay up in one of our pine trees!

 It's been a long-time dream of mine to see a swarm.
I always thought I'd have to be deep in the woods somewhere to find one.
Never in my wildest imagination did I think 
that I'd just see one while lounging in our Adirondack chairs.

The way they gathered on the pine branches...
 It reminded me of a winged and gorgeous thrumming heart.  
It really did resemble
the aorta, the pulmonary artery, and the vena cava!

Finding something like this in nature, 
let alone in your own yard,
feels so incredibly special.

It took me back to moments as a child when I'd make a discovery 
and it felt like I had just struck gold.


It felt like a good omen or a blessing.

That swarm stayed suspended in the pine tree Friday night 
and then left Saturday afternoon.

Fly away, beautiful heart.
Thank you for visiting us ever so briefly!
 Choose your new home wisely so that you may live long and prosper...

All Hail the Queen!!!


I had thought about contacting the local beekeepers club,
because they happily remove swarms and add them to their apiaries.
But I didn't want it to be removed.
I wanted to just watch it and enjoy it, 
the natural process and intensely alive thing that it was.

And I felt, deep in my own heart, that the bees wanted to be free.
They didn't want to be shaken into some beekeepers box, mine or anyone else's.  
They wanted to be wild women.
And I want that for them, too.

There's something about beekeeping that I have truly mixed feelings about.
I'm not in it for the honey.
Sure, some honey is a bonus, don't get me wrong...

But I really just want to share my life with the bees, to be a friend to them.
To enjoy the benefits of their pollination, and to witness what they do,
both in the hive and out of the hive.
My main goal is to help them survive in this modern world 
full of so many things that are causing their decline.

You'd never know that honeybees are in trouble if you were at our house this weekend.
I'm very happy about that!

I'll never know where they flew off to...
Hopefully a wild tree somewhere that they won't be bothered.


But that isn't the end of our swarm saga...!

Yesterday when I was walking down to check on that swarm before they left,
 I stopped dead in my tracks as I approached our two hives.  
There was SO much activity!!!  

I've seen busy foraging days, and high activity levels around the hive plenty of times, 
but never had I seen anything like this. 
Then I figured it out.  They were swarming, too!
 My camera was in the house and if I had gone back to get it, 
I would have missed the whole thing.

I didn't get too close to all of the activity 
because I had no idea what would happen if I did.
I just stood back and watched their amazing magic.

It was like a bee tornado!
Bees were literally pouring out of the entrance hole!
The air was teaming with bees zipping all around. 
For a 20' radius around the hive,
the air was dense with bees darting about.
Slowly they started raising up.
and up.
and up.
and up.
The force and the energy was so strong...
I felt like if I had been any closer, I might have lifted up a little with them.

It was a breathtaking sight to behold!
I felt utterly blessed to witness it.
Another bee dream from my list.
To watch a swarm in action!

The whole thing was over in about 10 minutes, I would guess.
Then I got to sit in my Adirondack chair, with one swarm in the pine to my left,
and another swarm in the maple to my right.
Surrounded by swarms.
I was in heaven.


The beehive on the right is the one that swarmed...
And they swarmed right up into that maple tree
(the one with the poison ivy creeping up it!)

  They landed in a different type of formation 
up at the tippy top.

 You can see some of the scout bees 
coming back to the swarm to communicate what they discovered.
They do a "waggle" dance to talk about it.

Apparently the longer they waggle, the further away the new potential hive site is.
They get more and more scout bees to join them
and it seems that when there's a strong consensus,
the swarm will move to that location.

 Good-bye, dear friends!

There's a lot to look out for in the big world...
Stay away from those big farm fields that use GMO crops and spray RoundUp.
Stay away from residential areas with ChemLawn!
And don't get tricked by those flowers from Lowe's and Home Depot
that have been treated with neo-nicotinoids!!!


I imagine that most beekeepers would not be thrilled with their hive swarming, 
especially those who are trying to make money at it and maximize their honey crop.   
They would try to prevent swarming at all costs.
Typically this is done by "splitting" the hive which I have no clue how to do,
and I'm not sure I'll ever bother to learn. 
We don't have room here for dozens of hives, 
so I can't let this interest of mine get out of control.

But in the future, if we have another swarm,
rather than climbing 40-50' on a ladder and scaring the bejesus out of myself,
I will simply offer the bees another home.  
It's called baiting a hive, and I just ordered one for this very reason.

If I had an extra hive ready to go right now, 
I could have put some propolis or lemongrass oil or beeswax in it to attract them.
And if they had found it a suitable home, then everyone would be happy.

For now, I got to just enjoy the sheer beauty of the bees 
doing what they've done for more than 100 million years.  
 Long before we started interfering.


So, two of my dreams were unexpectedly fulfilled this weekend!
What a thrilling time!!!
I'm a big dreamer, though, as anyone who knows me will attest.
Several bee-related dreams remain on the list,
and I hope I'm fortunate enough to be able to share more of them in the future.

I'd like:
- to one day gently fold my bare hand into a swarm 
(for the sensory experience of a lifetime!)

- to attract a swarm of wild bees to one of my hives

- to learn how to work various hive styles 
(I have a Langstroth on the way, but would also like to try a Warre style hive)

- to learn how to bee-line, which is essentially trailing bees back to their wild hive.
It's how the old-timers found bee trees!

Stay tuned for more adventures with the birds and the bees!
You never know when something amazing will happen!

No comments:

Post a Comment