The Russian Swarm boxes, which we referred to in an earlier blog, are working out very well. We have had four swarms and three of them were not from our hives. They were visitors from elsewhere. However the one swarm from the “Paul hive,”
named after our friend in Bear River where Klaus rescued a hive from his very high chimney several years ago, is worthy of a comedy play.
Klaus saw the capped Queen cells in Paul a few days before the swarm happened and he knew he needed to inspect the hive very soon to see what was going on, because there seemed to be “less activity” at the hive for three days. We arrived at 10ish
at the sanctuary and within minutes a swarm of bees, hiding in the neighbouring field, came flying by the thousands towards the sanctuary. Unfortunately the neighbours were mowing and trimming grass and bushes and the noise from the machines seemed to bother the swarm and so they all landed in the row of cherry trees along the sanctuary’s driveway, just above the hives. They rested only a few minutes and then they took off down the Hwy 101 and Klaus went for the Jeep with the equipment for catching swarms ……and my appointed job was to follow the swarm. This is where all dignity was abandoned -I found myself in the center of the swarm, running down the main highway with bees all around me. As we ran together I shouted a warning to the dismayed pet owners coming out of the local vets office, and ignored the surprised faces of the folks having an ice cream cone in front of the local kwik way, as I continued to run with the bees. They then did a 45 degree turn onto
a side road and after trespassing through three backyards I found myself at a woods edge where the bees seemed to have dove head-first out of site. By this time the “Jeep scout” was looking for me and he braved the wood- thicket to find our wonderful, happy, regressed -sized-bee- friends, sitting in a spruce tree 60 feet high!!!!!!! There was an old car graveyard next to this wood and after accepting that perhaps
Paul’s Rebirth of the Hive may have manifested as a new “Hippie Hive” living in a 1967 volkswagen bus, we said our goodbyes to the swarm and wished them well and left.
Honey bees finding a new home in the wild is something to celebrate and so we went to town and bought ourselves an ice cream to celebrate this amazing event of the Sanctuary. On the way home we drove up to the woods to look at the swarm one more time and they had already left. Perhaps that old orange coloured Volkswagen bus with Peace written on its side was a meant-to-bee for the bees……….being Love Beings and all. Two kilometers later, as we drove down our quarter-of-a-mile long lane, Klaus saw a black thing on the side of the honey house deck. By the time we were half way down the lane we both had wild, impossible Imaginations going through our heads. Finally passion got the best of Klaus and he stopped the Jeep and ran diagonally through the fields towards the honey house. There they were —-Paul’s babies had found us! Klaus had left another two- super- bait box on the honey house deck and the bees which had left their original home located a couple of kilometers away, were now marching inside their new home very quickly. This hive became a three super hive within a week – the largest swarm yet.
So the moral of the story is – just let them go and if they wish they will find you!