Flower Bed (butterfly bush with bees is on middle right)
Football-Sized Cluster of Bees
Close-up of Bee Ball (used telephoto lens)
Collecting the Bees
Original Bee Colony in Birdhouse
We were working in our flower garden on Sunday, and realized there was an unusual number of honeybees flying around our butterfly bush. We didn’t understand why, because the plant had no flowers. Then we saw what was going on – there was a ball of bees in the middle of the bush! They were clustered together protecting the queen, waiting for scout bees to find a new home. The bees had outgrown their original home in the birdhouse nearby. Some of the bees had left in a swarm to start a new colony. If you see a swarm, the bees will leave once they find a new place for a hive (usually within 3-4 days). An article about bees and swarming (which is normal this time of year) is at: http://www.beethinking.com/pages/how-to-catch-a-swarm
Luckily we have a beekeeper friend who offered to come collect the bees early this morning (Monday). Time was of the essence, and this morning’s cool, clear weather was perfect for the task. The process was interesting to watch, and it was fascinating to hear that every movement the bees make has meaning. Happily the bees are now sitting in their portable hive under a mango tree in his garden, awaiting transfer to another friend’s yard for her new beekeeping endeavor. The bees are already drinking the 1:1 sugar syrup he provided, and beginning to make wax comb. Bees are an extremely important part of the ecosystem, and critical for the food we eat. At the hive, bees even do a “dance” to tell other bees where nectar can be found. Maybe we’ll get to enjoy some fresh honey from those bees later on!