A Portable Swarm

It was BLAZING hot yesterday (80 degrees!), and after a long day of toiling on the house project, I came back to the apartment pretty close to sundown. As I got out of the truck, i heard a buzzing in the tool shed… so I investigated and discovered that in the heat, my extra stored beehive parts had let off a pleasant honeylike odor, inviting all random bees in the area to stop by and investigate. Now, I share this tool shed with the landlord and Emily, who keeps potting soil and so forth in there, so I figured that it must be time to take my bee shizzle elsewhere, lest a few dozen bees loitering in the shed cause some political unrest at home.  Tired though I was, I loaded all the various feeders, hive bodies, honey supers, and so forth into the back of my truck, where is just barely fit. There were still a few bees drifting around, so I left the tailgate open, figuring they would go home as the sun set.

The next morning, I arose a bit late (8am?) to discover that there were a few dozen bees buzzing around the back of my truck. “I guess the foragers are out early” I thought to myself, annoyed that I would have to drive this gear off to the farm and strand a few bees in the process. I ate my breakfast, assembled my gear for the day, and then noticed there was a thunderous buzzing that had slowly built up.

2014 SwarmskySM“What’s all that ruckus about, bees?” I joked as I went out to put my gear in the truck. But to my surprise, there were no bees to be seen. Not a single one. I looked left, then right… then up. There, about 20 feet in the air, was a HUGE cloud of bees. About 30,000 of them. (click to enlarge)

2014TruckSwarmSMI’ve seen a swarm before, and that was definitely what was brewing. So I went back inside, and over the next hour or so we watched as the entire swarm moved into one of the empty beehives- right in the back of my truck! How’s that for convenient? Turns out, those “foragers” this morning were actually scout bees, and they came to consensus pretty quickly about where the new home should be. They then went back and brought the whole colony with them. They immediately set up shop, sending out foragers, storing honey, doing all the things that bees like to do. I went about my daily business and left the truck at home, back open, so as not to disturb them.

I came back at about 7pm, and by that time all the bees were in the hive and bedding down for the night. I quietly closed the back of the truck, drove it out to the farm, and set the hive up out in the orchard with the others. Ta-Daah! New beehive! Amazingly, the truck ride out to the farm didn’t disturb them one bit; when I opened the back of the truck upon arrival, only about three or four bees even took flight. The other 29,997 were resting calmly in the equipment.

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