Thursday, May 27, 2010

The bees are back in town, the bees are back in town!

Okay. When Will expressed some interest in getting bees last summer, I was a little skeptical. After all, this was a man who expresses interest in many things, usually within a 24 hour period, and then moves on with regularity. I also knew that he is insanely busy managing our farm business and often overcommits.

But, he persisted, and when he agreed to enroll in a beginning beekeepers course offered through our local beekeeping community, I was convinced.

Fast forward 6 months, and we now have two active hives on our property.

Busy with the day-to-day running of the farm, days and then weeks passed without much attention being paid to the bees.

One day, Will and I returned to find the workmen hiding in their trucks in front of our farmhouse. (We spent most of last summer living through a renovation/addition - more to come at another time when I've gotten past my post-traumatic stress disorder).

Anyways, back to my story.

'The bees were swarming like a giant cloud above those white things they live in' is what we heard. Like scary, 'they're-going-to-come-and-sting-me-to-death', killer bee kind of swarming thing you hear about in the media.

Now these are European honeybees, and not the least bit aggressive, but they swarm when overcrowded in their hives and supers.

Sure enough, we had neglected them for too long and not given them enough space, and they were gone. They left behind a small contigent, a pathetic, non-viable hive.

A few months later, the other hive went and swarmed.

After our hard winter, we were left with two empty hives, two sad relics as a reminder of our failures at beekeeping. 'We should put them on craigslist' Will suggested the other night.

So...imagine my surprise when I came back from checking for new baby goats at the water-front, anticipating dinner, and found Will on the front porch.

As I approached, I could detect a familiar sound. What was it? It sounded so familiar....

And then it hit me as I rounded the corner - a loud buzzing sound and the crazy, frenetic movement of a large swarm of bees covering our two hives!

'You missed the best of it' Will exclaimed. 'They were really swarming thick a minute ago!'. We practically had to raise our voices to be heard above the buzzing sound.

I guess I'll have to start being a little careful when mowing again.

And then a strange feeling came over me, kind of like the jilted lover - 'I wonder if they'll stay this time?' I asked myself.

1 comment: