Ash came running in from playing in the backyard with an announcement:
"So many bees! more bees than you've ever seen in your life!"
I came out and found this:
A swarm! How exciting! Having previously been a beekeeper for a short period of time, I knew that capturing swarms were one way Beekeepers start a new bee colony. I went inside and read a chapter from "Beekeeping for Dummies" on how to capture a swarm.
The guy writing the book says he loves to capture swarms in front of a crowd, because everyone thinks he is so brave: no gloves, short sleeves... but he says a swarm is when bees are the most docile, so really there is nothing to worry about.
Well, we still worried. We set up an empty beehive and Drek suited up. I held Sera and the camera, taking care to stand back, just in case. Mary was also watching, as was Ash.
The problem was that the bees were not swarmed on a tree branch like in the book, they were swarmed on a garbage can full of heavy chicken feed. there was no way to gently carry the whole swarm over to their new hive all at once, so Drek took the lid over first. I followed him with the camera, but Mary stayed back by the trashcan. She says that once Drek moved away, a swarm of bees flew up out of the trash can, and just like in cartoons, charged straight at her. She was stung around 24 times.
Meanwhile, Drek was successfully relocating these bees:
After a few more trips back and forth, the whole swarm was moved into their new hive:
Ash, Alexa and I, despite our proximity and short sleeves, were never stung. One bee made it through Drek's armor and stung his arm once. All in all, we thought we were quite successful, until we talked to Mary. it raised the question: Wait, the author of the book does this in front of crowds?! Sounds like they are the brave ones!
Sadly, the bees did not like their home. They stayed for a few days, then decided to move on to greener pastures. Ah well. Good luck, giant bee swarm. I hope you find a home.