Swarming

We have had a few frames from a friend’s hive from last year sitting on our back deck for a few weeks now.  They have been awaiting our attention to process their wax to be used for sealing in the spawn during our mushroom cultivating efforts.  This passive act of silently awaiting its purpose, or at least the limited one we had planned for it, became much more than we could have hoped for, as the mix of honey, wax and honeycomb attracted a swarm.

My writing teacher has been actively looking for a swarm this spring.  Her colony of bees did not make it through this last and most harsh winter.  Knowing this, Rob emailed her to inform her of our visitors.  By the time we figured out what to do with them however, the swarm had vacated for the evening, seeking shelter during the cooler temperature of the late spring afternoon.  It was with disappointment that I had to confess we would not be delivering her bees that night.

The following day, as the children and I planted in some strawberry pups, we noticed that the bees were congregating again!  This time, I took quicker action and covered the swarm, hoping to trap as many as possible.  With all but a tiny space covered by a screen, the bees gave off an audible hum of life.  They were so serene and such a pleasure to have around.  The children and I passed through their congregation many times, as the pile of honey filled wax had been placed near our back door for convenience.  They were hard at work busily foraging for sustenance in the hexes created by another swarm’s efforts.

These bees were so wanted – and they came as though they knew it.  Softly, and warmly in the mid morning sun.  They gathered on my back porch, not knowing the depth of sweetness they would bring.  With synchronicity, I was scheduled to attend my writing workshop last night.   The bees were carefully concealed in our weekly organic fresh food delivery box.  Trundling toward the car whilst gingerly holding the box of swarm away from my body, I was surprised to feel tiny legs crawl across my fingers.  The lid was not as well sealed as anticipated and few bees had emerged onto my hand.  In my hasty determination to be on time for my writing workshop, I hadn’t really considered the magnitude of what I was carrying and was shocked by their touch and dropped the whole lot.  “Fresh Box” indeed.  Thankfully the lid remained in tact and so did the swarm.  After some help from Rob and the children to fetch the roll of painter’s tape, and secure the perimeter of the box, I attempted another departure.

Driving with a  swarm of bees in your backseat is an exhilarating experience.  Especially once I was cognizant of their powerful presence.  It was hard for me to stop checking my rear-view mirror.  Relief came as I pulled in front of their destination – alive and with no visible signs of insect-life.  I passed through the latched gate and into the serene yard where these bees would now reside.  The gardens were lovingly tended and bursting with new life.  I set them down next to the hive that would soon become home.

With the box safely delivered I headed inside to join the group for our circle.  The first assignment was to write about something in the yard that caught our attention.  I had no difficulty bringing something to mind.  Rather than wander outdoors, I took time to sit and recognize the frantic buzzing happening inside myself.  I was humming with my own intensity from the evening’s events.  As the bees lay waiting outside in the box, growing drowsy with the evening’s cold, with a few deep breaths I began to steady myself.  My own intensity was mellowed to a low drone.  I came home to myself.  It was then that I wrote part of what became this post…

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3 comments

  1. A couple of years ago we donated a swarm to a fellow newbie beekeeper. We had to drive 30 miles with the bees in a bucket in the back seat. I was very happy to hand them over and not have to worry about tipping the bucket and spilling the bees.

    Liked by 1 person

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