Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Swarm to Pollinate


I can't explain why, but I really love working with swarms of bees.  When my friend Yolanda contacted me about a swarm she was going to collect, I asked if I could tag along.  It's always nice to have help with bees.

These particular bees were in a bed of ground-covering juniper, up by the Oakland Zoo.  Yolanda had borrowed a bee vacuum, and was going to try to suck up the bees.  I'm such a tender-hearted weirdo that I can't bear to think of subjecting bees to this kind of treatment, so I asked if I could try picking the bees up with my hands.

The objective in catching a swarm is to catch the queen.  If she is put in the beekeeper's box, and she decides to stay, the other bees will follow her in.

Yolanda had a beautiful collection box, filled with inviting frames of wax comb.  I gently scooped up handfuls of bees and dropped them into the box.  Since the bees were all tangled up in the undergrowth, this took some doing.  I'd pick up a handful of bees, shake them off into the box, and then Yolanda and I would step back until the bees settled down.

Eventually, the bees started walking into the box on their own.  Yolanda had to leave to open her store (Pollinate Farm & Garden Supply) and I needed to finish an outfit for a costume party.  Yolanda would pick the bees up after dusk, when they'd all gone to bed.  These particular bees would go to the store, where they'd pollinate the fruit trees out back.

It was a lovely way to start the morning.


Sue Garrett said...

Vacuuming bees does sound rather aggressive.

norma chang said...

You sure are a brave soul. I would be afraid to even go near the bee nest. Glad all the bees entered the collection box.


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