Swarm!

Last Saturday night, Delaney and I were helping to building-sit the Home Life building at the fairgrounds. It was just 15 minutes to closing time when it became readily apparent that a storm was rolling in, and it was going to be a big one. “If it storms, we have to leave the building open for shelter,” they told me. “You get that baby home before it’s too late.” So we flew home. The first lightening flashed just as we pulled into the driveway, and we moved the animals that needed to be moved and opened gates that needed to be opened as we watched the dark clouds and bright lightening move closer and closer.

I’d just gotten the baby to sleep when I heard the wind start to whistle through the tree outside my bedroom window. It was an oddly eerie sound, and I slipped away from the baby just as the rain began. I closed the storm-side windows and comforted the nervous children and distributed flashlights, “just in case,” as the power dimmed then blinked out altogether. Davey and I watched the violence of it all for a while, awed, before retiring to bed, where we watched the lightening flash outside our tiny window.

Later, as the storm died away, we heard something fall. It wasn’t too big, but it was definitely a something. We forgot about it, though, in the morning, as we surveyed the damage that had been done by all the other storms we had that night. One of our trees was struck by lightening; I heard it in the wee hours of the morning, the flash of lightening, the instantaneous crack of thunder, and another sort of crack, too. I don’t know how much rain we got, but judging by the flooding, I’d say it was at least 10 inches. In approximately 10 hours. You may have seen my photos on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter.

Later that afternoon, we found this:

IMG_3838Our swarm trap! Davey’s been worried about his bees swarming, so this has been hanging in our tree for weeks, just in case.  So that was the something we heard as the storm moved off!  Many bees died in the fall, but there were many flying around the area, obviously excited, though not distressed.  So Davey did what any good beekeeper would do…

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He put on his beesuit!  He doesn’t usually wear it, but you don’t really want to mess with swarming bees, right?  Right.  We think.  We don’t really know.  We do not actually have any idea what we’re doing.

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Davey said he’d been checking on the trap regularly and they couldn’t have been there more than a day or two, but when he opened up the trap to resituate the bees in a more convenient (for us) hive, there was quite a lot of honeycomb already built.  So.  Apparently, we’d gotten distracted and hadn’t been watching as closely as we’d planned.  But all’s well that ends well, right?

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But wait!  What’s that that Meggie spies?  Over there in the trees?  Is that… is that… why, yes, it is!

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More bees!  The success of our plan absolutely required that the queen bee be in the hive!  Was she still on the tree?  Had she been in the swarm trap?  We don’t know!

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So Davey, all suited up, calmly swept all the bees out of the tree and into his swarm trap.

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Then he dumped them all into the hive with their friends, put the roof back on, and left the swarm box full of stragglers outside the door so they could find their way inside with the rest of their family.  Bees were flying everywhere, and we watched anxiously for a while, wondering if we’d done well.  By Monday morning, they were all settled in, and no bees had returned to the tree, so, apparently, their queen is reigning happily inside the hive box.  And all’s well that ends well.

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About Jennie Cooper

I'm the mother of eight children, the wife of a retired soldier, and a newly minted farmer. I spend my days fairly productively, home educating our children, raising large quantities of food for several families, and volunteering in our community. I read entire novels a page at a time in the comfort of my bathroom. I tell people I'm Catholic just because they find it so shocking. I think there's nothing so exciting as a thunderstorm coming in. It doesn't bother me at all that my dog barks outside my bedroom window all night. And I rather enjoy being 40. I didn't think I would, but 40 is pretty good.

2 thoughts on “Swarm!

  1. Beckie R.

    I love your writing style. You crack me up! Tell Meggie she’s got good eyesight!
    xox to you all.
    Beckie

    Reply

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