Those of you who read my post, Bee Not Afraid, know that in fact I am – afraid of my bees, that is. Fortunately Big Hal isn’t and has been dutifully feeding them all winter. Apparently, he has done a great job.
On the first warm day of spring I spied bees buzzing here and there about the farm, and took that as a good sign that our bees had survived the winter. When my oldest son, Jack, texted me last week to “come down to the barn and see the bees going crazy,” I was headed out the door to get our goat. I didn’t see it, but Jack said there were thousands of bees buzzing around the hive. I was thrilled by this obvious proof that we are some sort of bee whisperers. After all, this is our first hive, and it was clearly thriving despite the past summer’s devastating drought.
My assumptions were only partly correct. Our bees had indeed thrived. The swarm was a sign of this. What I did not know was that our bees had done so well that they had outgrown their hive, and thousands of them had made a mass exodus. I figured it out reading posts on a bee page I follow on Facebook. A poster mentioned his hive had swarmed, but that fortunately they, “caught most of them and got them back in the hive.”
My first thought was, “Oh! I am so stupid. I should have known what a bee swarm was and caught all our bees before they escaped!” My next thought was, “How the H#!! do you catch a swarm of bees?” Either way it was too late – or so I feared.
Again, I was mistaken. Our beekeeping friend, Mr. Jack, came out today to assess the situation. We hadn’t lost all our bees. A significant number remained. What we needed was a super. A super is like a second (or third) story on a beehive to make room for honey! Thankfully, Mr. Jack came prepared and got us all set up. It looks like we are still in the bee business, and we learned a valuable lesson about knowing the needs of our growing colony.
Even though we still have a lot to learn, I do know enough to recommend some good resources. YouTube features a number of excellent beekeeping videos. Also, check out Beverly Bees – a fantastic resource.