After our adventure on Monday with the bee swarm on the back fence, I had a little blog fodder and some photos for my little ol’ blog here. It was an interesting, educational experience and I was happy for the chance.
To think my boys would have completely missed out on it if they’d been in school that day!
Little did I know.
Friday morning, when D1 came in from the back yard, grabbed my phone, and headed back outside, I really didn’t think much of it. He likes to take pictures with the camera sometimes. Then he came back with this photo.
I ran outside and saw a bundle of bees clumped together on a branch, overhanging our yard. It was about the size of a baseball mitt, and swayed in the breeze.
It was actually rather creepy.
I called the neighbor, and she came back over to see what we had. They were definitely hers—no question about that. As rare as it is to see a honeybee “in the wild” these days, having two swarms in our yard in a week was pretty amazing, until she told me that this was actually the FOURTH swarm they’d found this week!
She called a bee expert and told them what was happening. They said it is extremely rare. One swarm, maybe. Two? Doubtful but possible. Four? Almost unheard of! Conditions have to be absolutely perfect for a hive to multiply and send out new queens.
Here in the Northwest, what frequently happens is that hives are killed off in the winter. It isn’t unusual for an entire bee box colony to die from the extreme temperature drops.
Apparently this past winter wasn’t very cold, since we had yet another queen and her entourage.
Her dad drove out again in the morning, to collect the bees. Fortunately, it had rained all night and the bees were lethargic from the cold. The capture was quick and easy. They put the box under the branch they were collected on, gave it a few hard whacks, and they all fell right into the box. Easy peasy.
There were just a few bees left afterward. I snapped this picture, as close as I could get without disturbing them… with zoom, of course. 🙂 They found their way back to the home hive box later, after it warmed up.
Hopefully this was our last bee adventure!