I had a few visitors this week. Oh sure, lots of Airbnb and cyclists and friends come to see us. However, these visitors were different! They all came at the same time and decided to spend the night in one of my trees. Yes, 30,000 bees came to call. Of course, it didn’t look like 30,000 bees, because they were grouped together in a nice swarming oval shape in my crabapple tree! Aaron said, “Don’t worry mom, they’re going to send scouts to find their real new home.” They only hang around for a few days. »
I am definitely not opposed to bees! My shelves are full of local honey, and I know how important they are to all of us! According to the FDA, bees give us all these products: honey, pollen, royal jelly, beeswax, propolis and venom. The term “busy as a bee” takes on new meaning when we do a little research. Bees pollinate crops, driving up the agricultural market by around $15 million! Think about that…all that from that little bee.
I know all of this. I know they don’t mean to sting me…or anyone. Yet there are about 30,000 hanging over my garden. I tried tiptoeing, but that still didn’t convince me to go to the garden!
A quick phone call to Carolyn (who, along with her son, Mark, is an excellent beekeeper), and she knew exactly what to do. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that she called to say that Dick Lash, a beekeeper, was coming to take a look. By the time I hung up the phone, Dick was already looking forward to checking out my bees. We strolled (on tiptoe?) around the garden to have a look. The look on his face is the same one I get at Monument Pizza when Jonny pulls out a coconut pie. Seriously. He thought the swarm was beautiful, and it really was. He asked me if I had a ladder. I should have one, but I don’t have so many that he went home to get his ladder.
Dick was back in a flash, and I followed him into the garden. He set up the ladder and began to climb. I stopped him, “Don’t you need your veil or beekeeping clothes?” I asked him. He just shook his head for me to keep my phone in my hand ready to dial 911 anytime. He came back down, got a box of bees from his truck and carried it up the ladder. Yet, without his beekeeping clothes, he shook off the swarm with the hope that they would fall into the box taking their queen with them. Still, my phone was jammed in my hand, ready to call for help. However, none were needed. He came back down and we both stood watching the miracle of 30,000 bees as they slowly descended into their new home. Bees were flying everywhere. After a while Dick came back up and, with a soft brush, swept some of the bees from the box into the hive.
After an hour, the bees had settled into their new home. They had to persuade their queen that it would be a nice place to live. Dick went up and down the hive and put it in my garden to wait for nightfall to bring them home. He was delighted to have a new hive. I was thrilled they had a new home! We were there under the apple tree chatting about bees and honey. I so admired Dick’s stories, knowledge and bravery with bees. Of course, I curiously wondered why they chose my yard, but again, it’s kinda cute. I loved listening to his beekeeping stories and his kindness in answering all my questions.
Finally, it was time to say “goodbye” to my personal bee rescuer. After Dick left, I kept a close eye on the hive hoping they would live a happy and productive life. As night fell, Dick returned to take them home. He will feed them sugar water and move them into their permanent home in a few weeks.
Thank you, Dick, for getting my bees back! We are all grateful!
“To make a meadow, you need a clover and a bee,
A clover and a bee.
Daydreaming alone will do,
If the bees are few.
Lou Ann Homan Saylor lives in Angola in the White Picket Gardens where you can find her gardening or writing late at night under the light of her frayed scarlet lamp. She is a storyteller, teacher, writer, actress, and porch story collector. She can be reached at [email protected]