A swarm of bees

The bees have been happily collecting nectar for two months now. They are not my bees but we are borrowing them and they are borrowing our fields and garden. They belong to a friend of a friend and the theory is that we provide the nectar (in our fields full of wild flowers and fruit garden full of blossom) and the friend of a friend looks after them and does all the hard work and then collects the honey.
We don’t have to do anything except sit back and enjoy the bees and benefit from all our fruit trees getting pollinated (and maybe get a jar of honey at the end of the year). It was all so simple.

But the bees had other ideas.

Once the bees were settled in, ignoring our fields they went off into the distance to find some nectar plants they preferred to ours. They got loads of it and the numbers of bees got more and more I watched as they crowded round the entrance waiting impatiently to get in and store up their nectar. They have been busy all day every day going backwards and forwards. It was such a simple plan we would all benefit from the bees. It was all so easy.

Except that the bees had other ideas.

Yesterday they started to fly around the field in their thousands. I sat and watched as a queen flew out and landed on our pear tree. The bees buzzed round and round her and then all of a sudden a cloud of bees followed. More and more came and then even more and more until the queen bee had a dark mass of bees the size of a ball round her. Then even more came and the ball grew and grew until there was a huge mass like a giant black pear on our little pear tree. The pear tree began to bend and the leaves began to wilt with the weight. The buzzing stopped and there the giant pear hung in silence.

What do you do when bees swarm?

I rang the friend of a friend – no answer – he was out. I rang again – still out. A hasty check on the internet brought up a name of a local beekeeper and he came. One experienced tap of the tree branch and the giant pear plopped into a waiting basket. That night the friend of a friend came and sorted everything out.

Now we have two bee hives – but we are still waiting for the honey.

It is not as simple as I thought. Bees have ideas of their own.


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