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Bee Swarm!

I seem to be having interesting weekends right now. Last weekend we had snow, this weekend temperatures into the 90s F, plus we had a swarm of bees hanging out on a tree branch.

I kept a close eye on the situation because welcome though they are, I didn’t want the bees thinking the eaves of my house are an appropriate place to build their hive, as happened last week to one of my neighbors. The bees made it from there inside the main part of the house and obviously that’s not where you want bees.

swarm of beesI was going to call Vector Control this morning to see if they’d come move the bees, and if that didn’t work, start seeking out local beekeepers. I’d far rather they be moved alive into a suitable home, as bees have enough trouble with Colony Collapse Disorder; they don’t need pest control killing them. But, as is common for honeybee swarms, they moved on about 24 hours after they arrived.

The kids were fascinated, and I gave various of our neighbors permission to come over and show their kids the swarm. Swarming bees are supposed to be relatively gentle after all, with no hive to protect. It’s a good lesson for the kids to be able to get so close and to see such interesting behavior from the bees.

The hardest part was keeping the kids out of the backyard the rest of the time. The bees arrived sometime on Saturday, so pretty much all weekend the backyard was off limits to play. I didn’t want them to accidentally agitate the bees, after all. My youngest took that pretty hard, as she always wants to go out and play.

It’s a bit difficult for the bees to find a good place for a hive that isn’t someone’s home around here. The neighborhood is too young for there to be many large trees, and it being southern California there aren’t many that just grow on their own either. I’m really hoping they found a good place.

My one wish is that I had gotten to see them leave, as it would have been nice to know the direction, in case a neighbor ends up with them. Be nice to warn them before the bees get comfortable and make sure they know there are better options than calling pest control. We think we missed the departure by minutes, as we kept checking on them all yesterday afternoon, and saw a few stragglers still on the branch, and a few more headed over the fence.

My son took a picture of the swarm at rest to school today for show and tell. Great adventure for a kindergartner, after all. Bees tend to inspire such fear and awe in young children.