So, we were driving back from feeding our bees at our farm in town. Enjoying that we had an actual day off. The first in ages! We've closed the restaurant for a while. No one had soccer practice. It was sunny and warm and lovely.
Unfortunately, my husband has a really good eye...for swarms of bees. And when he sees one, he can't just pass it up. I pointed out that the swarm was in a really tall tree. Yes, of course we could get a ladder. But the branches were really skinny. It was more like a giant bush. It had danger written all over it. Alas, he has no fear.
So, we got permission from the tree owner. We borrowed a ladder, some rope, a saw, and some pruning shears from a friend who said, "heck no!" he wasn't going to come watch.
I held the ladder. It was leaned against a few rather spindly branches and the man without fear climbed up. He tied a rope around the branch with the swarm on it. Just about that time a couple of guys showed up who thought that seeing a swarm like that was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I didn't bother to mention that we captured five of our own swarms last year. I mean, the guys were super excited. Plus now we had helpers! While my boys looked on from the comfort of the car, I held the ladder, the new helpers pulled the branch down with the rope, and the man cut the branch.
Of course at this point, one might think we had a plan. One of the guys asked just that as the branch fell and we were showered with bees. I shouted to my boys to close the car door. Twice. (They seem to take after their dad in the fear department.) Our manly helper men ran around flailing and shooing bees off themselves. My husband sat in the tree, bees swirling all around him while I held onto the ladder with all my might because he had gotten so far out on that skinny branch it looked like it was about to snap. Bees rained down on me like angry black and yellow hailstones.
I had to laugh. I mean, I can't honestly say that I wasn't a little bit afraid. It would be silly not to be when there are 30,000 or so bees that could sting if they really wanted to. But they didn't. Bees usually only sting when they have a hive to protect or when they get squished. I actually felt pretty dang calm. I must be getting used to this beekeeping thing a little bit.
I had taken some photos to show you, but as luck would have it, my phone died today. Just imagine a big buzzing ball dripping from a branch. If you do want to see a photo of a swarm, google images has lots.
And yes, I do have a couple of bee stories swirling about here somewhere. Now that it's bee season I might just have to pick them up again.