Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Swarm!

I haven't been well this week. I came down with some sort of bug and by Friday afternoon, I had a temperature. Having even a slight fever really knocks me out. Today was the first day I've actually done anything outside. I was helping The Man of the Place haul grass clippings to the compost bins and chicken run. While wheeling the barrow over to the chicken run, I heard bees. A lot of bees.

I've managed to upload this bit of video. Please note that my voice has been affected by the terrible cold.

The old beech tree at the top of our drive had attracted a swarm. I knew it had just arrived, so I ran and told the guys and then went in to phone our plumber. Not only is our plumber a great guy and world class plumber, he and his father keep bees. I knew that if anybody could, they would be able to collect this swarm and put them to good use.

James Rae Sr and James Rae Jr showed up with impressive amounts of beekeeping gear and set about smoking out the bees and collecting the swarm in a basket.
In this photo they have sucessfully smoked the queen out and she settled on a low branch. She is then attended by the entire swarm. The weight of all those bees bent the branch. This was handy as they only had to shake the bees into the basket.

Here I was worrying that I wasn't going to have anything to write about because I've been so idle due to illness.


Xtreme English said...

how exciting!! there have been lots of bee swarms in the news the past couple of weeks. i never saw bees swarm at any time other than in the fall at lake sallie. is this spring swarm usual bee behavior??

xo, ma

Peggy said...

The guys said that spring is a normal time for bees to swarm. The bees will begin to swarm when the weather gets warm enough.

Paradise Driver said...

You are more adventurous than me.

Hope you are feeling better.

I still hear the "corn" in your voice, but it has had the edges softened by the UK vowel influence.

J-Funk said...


My Studly Hubby met someone through school that designs "Save the Bees" T-shirts (they are dying in the US and nobody knows why). They are at We ordered a Hungry Bear and a Flight T-shirt, and I can't wait to sport them around.

Claude said...

Amazing! And you have a plumber that is a bee keeper. Even more amazing.
I am quite afraid of anything that might sting me so I guess I would never have got that close.

Peggy said...

paradise driver - I'm not afraid of bees (or snakes, mice and spiders) just as long as they don't suprise me.

j-funk - I know the bees in North America are dying. My theory is genetically modified crops. Of course this is only MY theory and it is not backed up by any scientific proof.

Peggy said...

Claude - Bee swarms are not at all like they are portrayed in horror movies. They're just looking for somewhere new to live and are completely uninterested in attacking things. It was like having a whole programme from The Discovery Channel unfolding here at the house. I felt quite safe.

mitchgib said...

This is really fascinating !
I am really worried about the bees dying off here in the USA.
Thanks for sharing !

Jay said...

See there is one of the main differences between you and me. You see a swarm of bees in a tree and you immediately think to call a bee keeper and save them. I would have gone and gotten a flame thrower. ;-)

Mad Cabbie said...

You are supposed to drink lots of fluid and chill not run around with a camera chasing some confused bees!

Get well soon Peggy.

Eryn said...

What a cool event. I am impressed that you have a plumber/bee keeper as well.
Glad you are feeling better.

Betty said...

That was a great video. I think you are braver than I am, though.

Dogbait said...

Hope you recover fully soon. TP has been laid low like you too.

We come across a few hives in meter boxes and I can tell you I don't hang around to read the meter!

Joe said...

Great to hear your voice, even muffled by a cold. I hope you feel better.

sally said...

Thanks for the exciting post and I'm glad the bees have been moved to a better location.

North American bees are dying from a parasite. They've found that if they irradiate a hive, the parasite dies, but the bees don't. Seems impractical to irradiate all hives. These sorts of die offs happen, the last being in 1990 AND it's happening in Europe as well. Good luck bees!!!

Peggy said...

mitchgib - Thanks and thanks for stopping by.

jay - Isn't it great that we have these vast differences and can still be buddies?

mad - Thanks. I'm spending most of Monday here at home in bed. I've gotten loads of sleep.

eryn - I think bees are fascinating. I'm getting better but this bug is holding on like grim death.

betty - I bet you've just never had your bravery about bees tested. I'm sure you'd be fine.

dogbait - Do you have to ask the owners to clear the bees?

Joe - Thanks. I hope I'm better soon too.

Sally - I think you are thinking of the veroa mite, a parasite that damages the health of a hive and sometimes kills it. I was talking about Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. That is another whole blog entry itself.

Joy Des Jardins said...

YIKES! I heard them...and saw them Peggy. Good thing you didn't go any closer. The last thing you needed was having to run back to the house with a swarm of bees on your back. I hope you feel better very soon Peggy....take care....

Kell said...

Wow! That is so cool that you had people come "collect" the bees. I love bees and have thought about having a hive to make some honey. Everyone thinks I'm crazy, but I love honey, too.

Glad you're feeling better.