bees in the beans

I was starting work in the garden this morning when I came upon a swarm of bees resting in one of our beds of fava beans.

There was a time when Tom and I would have found this alarming, but this morning it couldn’t have been more delightful. More bees, more honey, more fun!

The usual causes of swarming are either because the original hive is getting crowded or an aging queen is making way for her successor. One morning, the old queen will fly off with a bunch of bees in search of new digs. The whole gang can’t go house-hunting at the same time, so they’ll settle someplace, like a hanging basket in our garden, while the scouts are off, well, scouting. This is when bees are at their most docile since they don’t have a hive to defend. This is certainly not always the case, but the colony in hand were as gentle as gentle can be. Luckily the hives we already have are only about a few feet away and I thought I’d could pick up the hanging basket and walk it over to an empty hive box.

And that’s just what happened.

Here’s where we started:

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A lovely ball of bees. This is probably 3 pounds of bees = 10 000 to 12 000 bees

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Just about ready to start the move:

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Are here we go:

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Walking carefully, very carefully.

You’ll notice there’s no flying around going on. They are calmly dealing with the ride, swaying gently.

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Just a couple of feet and we’ll be in the bee yard.

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We’ve made room to nestle the swarm into their new hive boxes.

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And here we are.

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Not a full minute after, bees were making their down into the frames, getting established.

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One last look:

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We could have done the usual and shook the swarm into the box, but it might have annoyed them. Everything was going so smoothly, we just draped a sheet over them so they can make the move at their own pace. By nightfall, they’ll be ensconced in their new home and we’ll remove the sheet and cover the hive.

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This was probably the most serendipitous place for a swarm to land. To see some of the other places swarms will land check what Google has to offer.

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