I got a call at work today from a woman who had noticed a swarm of honeybees near her office, and had found our local bee club on the internet. The club has a very clever phone system that connects bee-finders with bee-keepers.
Robb and I met up after work, with a car-load of bee gear, to capture this swarm.
In this case, the bees were congregating on the bottom of a wall, behind a rosemary bush. A rosemary sprig makes a delicious-smelling bee-brush. Robb scooted the bees into a cardboard file box, which I then I dumped into our larger wooden box. We would have brushed the bees directly into the wooden hive box, but could not cram it between the wall and the bush.
Robb and I were the evening entertainment for the bar next door. Before we were finished, most of the dudes sitting on the patio, all of the bouncers, and one passing scientist had moseyed over to take a look at what we were doing. (The latter had worked at the Berkeley Bee Garden -- which I've written about, here -- when he was in graduate school.)
Once we had the bulk of the bees in the box, they raised their behinds into the air, exposed a scent gland and fanned their wings like crazy. This wafted the "come home, now" scent out to the straggler bees.
All we had to do at this point was wait for the stray bees to fly into our hive box. It was a beautiful evening. The patio bar beckoned. So Robb and I enjoyed a beer, and I learned that I'm quite adept at teaching drunk guys all about beekeeping. One heavily tattooed guy got all sloppy-weepy about how much he respected my helping out the bees. I have such a way with men.
If the scene painting thing doesn't work out, perhaps I could combine my love of bees with my long-dormant bartending skills, and start an Academy for Drunk Entomology.
I ask you, what's more insane? Drinking and driving, or shoving a boxful of live bees into the back of a station wagon and driving home in rush hour traffic?
We will not speak of my fifty eight dollar parking ticket.