This afternoon I looked out my bedroom window to find hundreds (or thousands?) of bees flying around our giant lilac bush right outside. I immediately called my sister, Bea, who is a new beekeeper herself. I asked her what was going on with this mass of bees in my yard.
What I thought was a natural new hive actually turned out to be a swarm. This happens a lot in May, apparently, that a colony gets too large and so the queen and a portion of her followers break off to form a new colony. Swarms are nice in that they are from solid, healthy colonies--they are a good catch for an experienced beekeeper.
Or maybe an inexperienced one?
It's pretty much been on my bucket list to keep bees. I've long thought of doing it. Then, this past year my sister did the real deal--she took classes and everything--before we knew it she was a serious apiarist. Her first colony arrived this spring and she is so knowledgeable and wonderful with it. I've loved learning from her about the amazing bees.
So when my sister told me how beekeepers can capture and hive swarms, I wondered if we could do it with our new swarm. I called Justin at work and told him how the bees had found me, and I wanted to keep them.
You can see the swarm here, at the top of our lilac bush:
And thanks to my telephoto lens, here's an up-close view:
So I called Justin and Bea, and Justin and Bea, and Justin and Bea, and finally decided that I'd return the camera lens that was to be my Mother's Day gift (it was horribly back-ordered anyway) and buy a hive instead. Knowing we didn't have much time (swarms are only temporary, after all, they're scouting out new permanent hive locations) Justin left work and ran to the local bee store for a darling powder blue Langstroth hive.
And he tossed those bees into our new hive.
And now we just have to hope they stay! They might. They might not. We haven't located the queen yet, so hopefully she was in there. And if she is in there, hopefully she'll decide to stay. If not then we will have ourselves a pretty, yet empty, powder blue hive.
I suppose if the colony doesn't take then we can order some bees when the time is right. But I have to say, this all felt like it was meant to bee...
After all, these bees found me.
I'll keep you all updated on our new bees...