Early afternoon I walked by an open window and heard a lot of buzzing outside. It didn’t take long to see this swarm of bees. There were hundreds of bees in the air swarming around the dark mass hanging from the spruce branch. Fifteen minutes later, after making some phone calls, most of the bees had settled, and the mass had grown. I thought our bees had swarmed, and we might lose them, so I called my friend Patrick Trowbridge, who’s a Beemaster, along with his considerable other talents. Turns out he was already in Blue Hill, and he had his bee gear with him.
Our friends Ric and Kathy in Brooklin had an extra hive, so I left to go pick that up. Holly drove home from work, and Patrick made a plan. When I got back with the hive, Patrick was in full bee regalia, which consists of a dwarfish sort of safari hat. No net, bare arms and legs – that’s his bee gear. He rigged a rope over a higher up branch in the tree and tied it to the branch the swarm hung onto. Then, with Holly holding some tension on the rope, he sawed slowly through the branch. He said ” if the swarm falls off, don’t run.” I’m allergic to bees, so I wasn’t so sure. What I learned though is when the bees are swarming, it’s all about protecting the queen and getting the colony started in a new home. They’re really not interested in stinging anyone.
So Patrick saws through the branch with a little folding saw. When the branch is severed, Holly feeds out some slack, and he walks the branch down the ladder, bees all aquiver and settles the swarm onto the waiting hive. He gives the branch a jolt, and the bees start dropping down into Ric and Kathy’s hive.
They make themselves right to home, and really don’t have any interest in humans.
Getting settled in the new home. It turns out these bees are from away – we’ll never know from where, but they’re home now, and we hope they stay, survive, and make future contributions to pollination.
The Beemeisters contemplating their success.