20 July 2015

Swarm #2

We were gone two hours and this surprise showed up!
It was pushing 98 degrees, the humidity was incredibly high, we'd endured several weeks of rainstorms but to Jack, the day was as magical as Christmas morning, even if it was in the middle of July.
We were driving back from running some errands while playfully bantering back and forth about whether the bees or the horses were pricier. He argued that the fencing we put up is always so expensive. I countered by pointing out that we always make that money back when we sell the house. I noted the bees have gotten new hives and frames the past few years, but have yet to give us any honey due to erratic weather, moisture and invading insects. Almost as if on cue, we pulled into our driveway and Jack leaped from the car, shouting, "Look! A swarm!"
I doubt many other people are as excited about an enormous gathering of potentially angry insects who have the ability to hurt humans as Jack is. It wasn't ten minutes after getting home that he had called another apiary buddy (who ended up being away in Utah so he missed the fun) and had on his bee gear and was sawing away on the birch branch where the bees had congregated.
A view from a distance.
Almost a year to the day, we sadly watched another swarm come and go. They seem to be attracted to the other hives we have and thanks to moving the bee's location, swarm number two ended up being much easier to reach. If the trend continues, I suggested Jack might like to have an extra beehive on hand every year.
Stuffing bees into a box.
Though swarming bees are generally docile because they're tired and hungry and don't have anything to protect, I like to stand back and watch. While Jack worked on getting them stuffed into a temporary home, the girls and I viewed from the deck. I enjoy observing Jack work but admit that I bite my nails, worrying he's going to get mauled by the bees. Everything went according to plan...
Building a roof.
...until he sliced his arm open while making a waterproof tin roof for his new girls.
Yes, that's blood on his chin. No, he's not a vampire. I think.
We know the Urgent Care is all too well. Of course, it should be renamed the We'll-Get-To-You-When-We-Feel-Like-It Care (in my humble opinion). I got the girls out of the pool and dressed while Jack and I had another friendly disagreement about how to wrap his wound. He kept instructing me in the boy scout method while I  kept insisting I should get the vet wrap and bandage his leg like a dog's (hey, it's how I was trained). He ended up taking care of himself while I drove. We arrived promptly and immediately realized Jack had forgotten his wallet.
Got all the bees down.
The girls and I drove back and forth and then waited patiently, eating suckers and looking through magazines, while Jack got three brand new stitches in his arm. I told him I'm adding that medical bill to the running total of keeping bees.
Their temporary home.
It's always fun when Mother Nature sends free stuff our way. One question though: when is she going to send me some horses?

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