I arrived home from Bible study to discover my husband watching lots of bees buzzing round.
A swarm had landed on a young tree outside our garden. I suggested that a friend ought to be alerted for two reasons. The first was the safety of children who would be playing there at lunch-time and the second was that she is a beekeeper herself.
My husband decided to visit the school to catch her just before the lunch hour started. She contacted a beekeeper and alerted the supervisory staff. Beekeepers have special protective suits and equipment for capturing a swarm. My friend went home for her suit and observed the more experienced beekeeper as he made preparations to capture the bees. We watched as well. I had seen swarms on TV, but not at close quarters. I couldn’t estimate how many bees there were. The beekeeper transferred the swarm from the tree into a basket and then tipped the bees into a special hive. They made a loud thud as they landed!
Beekeeper collecting a swarm Photo credit Wikipedia
The bees will follow the queen wherever she goes even into the captivity of a new hive. I think the relationship between bees and beekeepers could be described as symbiotic. There were openings which the remaining bees could use to enter the portable hive, which was left until evening for the stragglers.
I was reminded of the rhyme:
A swarm in may is worth a load of hay,
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon,
A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly.
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