To Catch a Swarm

The tale of our friend Joan’s bees began almost exactly two years ago. Much has happened since. Here I told you about the epic-sized swarm her first hive spun off.  After that the hive continued to produce more swarms, and these are the bees that Joan got to replace her swarmed-out hive. Joan’s glorious garden is surely one reason her bees thrive.

Honeybee on Spanish lavender

Two days ago, one of her hives swarmed again. Rather than staging their journey from the olive tree, where most of Joan’s swarms head first, this one congregated on the stone border around the tree. It was a relief to have a ladder-less swarm capture for once.

Honeybee swarm

Joan tried to entice them into a box with some tasty honey and comb, but although they eagerly ate the honey they weren’t ready to move into the box. George and I brought over more temptations: bee lure and an extra-fancy beekeeper’s box. Okay, that’s just a cardboard banker’s box all duct-taped-up with one side handle left open for the bees to enter.

Honeybee swarm

The bees were interested, but moving slowly because the weather was cooling. We beekeepers were patient, but only up to a point. Joan and George decided to suit up to help the swarm along.

Honeybee swarm

Those lingering in the rocks started marching up to join their sisters.

Honeybee swarm

More waiting.

Honeybee swarm

Until finally the whole swarm was tucked into the box.

Honeybee swarm

And on to their new home. But that’s a story for another day!

National Honeybee Day, 8/17/13

In honor of National Honeybee Day, here are a few of my favorite photos of our bees!

Honeybee on a passionflower.

Honeybee on passionflower

Honeybee on a lavender flower.

Honeybee on lavender

Honeybee on flower.

Honeybee on flower

Honeybee on poppy flower.

Honeybee on poppy flower

Queen honeybee and worker bees in the hive.

Queen bee

Swarm of honeybees in a tree.

Honeybee swarm

Even if you’re not able to have a hive, you can help out by planting flowers, trees, and bushes that provide nectar for bees and other pollinators. Click here to see a good wiki article on Northern American sources for honeybee nectar.