I know the Chinese have long been in charge of managing the years and their animal counterparts. This year for instance, the Chinese calendar claims it is the year of the tiger. I see it slightly different here in West-by-God-Virginia though. This has been the year of the honeybee!
On Tuesday evening of this week, I got a call from a couple in South Hills who had a swarm of bees on their window. I checked it out and it seemed that the swarm had decided to take up residence inside the soffit of their house. That swarm is still in progress. We’re waiting to see if they are truly headed in or if they were just running from me as I tried to catch them.
Last night I got home a little before 8. There was a message about another swarm in Dunbar (a nearby town). My father-in-law came with me as we loaded up the van and headed out. The homeowner and her daughter and grandson noticed the swarm in a tree that they had planted for Mother’s day this year. The usual way to get a swarm off of a branch is to cut the branch and lower it gently into a hive. Of course, this tree was small and important to them so we went with Plan B (cue the scary music and crazy eyes). I always carry a cardboard box so I had my father-in-law (who was fully suited up) hold the box while I gave the tree a good shake. Most of the bees were jolted into the box which we then dumped into the nearby hive.
The swarm itself was really easy to catch so that part was done pretty quickly. My favorite part of swarm catching is not really getting the actual bees into the hive though. The home-owner’s grandson had a lot of questions and was very curious about bees and beeswax and whether they would hurt him, and how they made honey, etc. Answering questions and talking to people who are curious about bees is my favorite part of catching swarms…and Grandson L. really made my day. I chatted with him for 15 (?) minutes after the bees were captured.
All-in-all, it has been a great bee week and a good bee summer…this is definitely the year of the bee!