It has been over a year since Robb and I kept bees. Our colonies had dwindled, and my work schedule was simply too hectic to allow me to chase after swarms.
This spring, I asked my friends to keep an eye out for swarms. As it turned out, friends-of-friends (who also happened to live quite nearby) had a colony of bees that was throwing off swarms. On Sunday, I picked up a massive swarm of bees with almost no effort. (This never happens.)
Beekeeper Laurie had already coaxed the bees into a "nuc" box (basically, a mini beehive), and all I had to do was wait until sundown, when bees go to bed. Once they'd settled, I would close the entrance to the box, wrap the whole thing in bedsheets, and drive them to my house. A few thousand bees in my car: what could possibly go wrong?
Few things are more enjoyable than sitting in a beautifully maintained garden, watching the sun set over the waters of the San Francisco Bay. The bees took a while to retire. And my wait was very pleasant.
The next morning, I carefully transferred Laurie's bees into my hive. There was some inevitable chaos, but overall things went smoothly. The bees weren't aggressive at all.
And again we wait.
Hopefully, the bees will accept this hive as a new home, but that's a decision that the bees have to make.