Is there anything more special than friends who share a passionate interest? George’s friend Brian is a twofer – they first met and bonded over their common love of orchids, spiced with a shared cynical smart sense of humor. More lately, Brian discovered that he wanted to keep bees. He had a beautiful hive all ready and waiting for some honeybees to move in, so when George and our friend Alan rescued a swarm, there was no question that they were meant to be Brian’s bees. The swarm settled on a tree limb just above a garden shed.
George and Alan clambered onto the shed. I held the ladder and worried that they’d fall through the roof (they didn’t). When bees are swarming they’re very calm, so George easily brushed most of them into a box. The critical thing is to try to get the queen. If you do, the rest will follow her, because their main imperative is to protect her.
As you’d expect from an orchid and nature lover, Brian has an amazing garden. Here’s George delivering the bees to their new home.
The bees quickly realized they had arrived at nectar heaven. The workers happily began to forage, build comb and make honey, and the queen zealously performed her queenly duties and began laying brood. We went back to do a hive inspection, and this is what we found:
That’s her majesty, surrounded and protected by workers. She’s much larger than the other bees, and is a gorgeous deep golden color. Here’s more of a closeup photograph.
Much of the white you can see filling the comb is larvae or brood. As George finished the inspection, I walked around the garden to see what the workers were up to. They favored a magnificent Spanish Lavender plant.
The intoxicatingly fragrant orange tree was another favorite.
We even got a bit of honey from some extra comb the bees had built on the lid of the hive, so Brian could taste his bees’ honey. Your own bees’ honey is always the sweetest. And here’s to honey and friendship, ever sweetly intertwined.