Friday, June 19, 2009

Bee Swarm Photos

Here are the swarm photos from last week. Thanks for your patience. The bees consolidated around two branches in an evergreen tree in our neighbor's yard. They were understandably a bit concerned by the thousands of bees zinging around their property. Fortunately, and unbeknownst to most folks, honeybees are quite gentle when they swarm as they have no hive [home] to defend and they have gorged themselves on honey. We didn't even use smoke, just a few squirts of sugar water on the hive to entice them in. Our girls were about 20 feet off the ground; too high for our ladders. I wish we had pictures of the actual swarm retrieval; but sadly, we were a bit preoccupied with other bee-related tasks. Papa perched on top of a ladder in a full bee suit and used several cutting devices attached to windsurfer masts. Once the branches were cut, he delicately lowered them to the ground and I placed the branches into their prepared box. Once the bees decided that the box was an acceptable new home, the workers align toward the hive and extend their abdomens in the air, fanning the release of Nasonov pheromones.
And then, en masse, the bees walk into the hive. It's actually pretty spectacular to witness. I sat on the ground and watched. And the whole time they were marching, I was humming:
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

Random songs have a way of getting stuck in my head but this one seemed rather appropriate.