The most spectacular thing I’ve experienced this month was getting up close and personal with a new hive of bees. But, by far, the best part wasn’t hunting down the queen or looking for brood, but watching the bees dance to tell the other bees exactly where there was pollen to be found. It was magnificent! And it was a dance that their creator taught them, which made my world feel so intricate and beautiful! I felt privileged to see the performance and could probably watch them come and go, feed each other and watch the queen lay eggs for most of an afternoon if I had the time.
All of this got started when two families around here decided to get bees. It just so happens that a bee charmer also lives here with us! He was the mastermind behind all of it and we just got to come along for the ride. They bought what’s called a “nuke,” which is a pre-established hive that has a queen and a couple of frames of comb already drawn out, full of honey and brood (bee larvae). That’s the box on the right in the picture above. The wooden box on the left is going to be their new home.
The smoke worked well to keep them crawling on the comb rather than flying all around, wondering what you were doing to their hive!
As the frames were pulled out, they had to be careful to not knock the queen off or squish her. They were already combs full of honey, along with new bees in all the various stages! From what we’ve heard, this is a much easier way to start your own hive than just buying a box of angry bees.
The bees seemed content after they’d spend a day in their temporary box getting used to the area. They were hard at work as he transferred them, so they only stung him once when he squished one of them with his finger.
One day, I’d love to have bees when we’re overseas. It’ll be a while until we’re settled enough to have them anywhere, but until then, it’s at least on my list of fascinating things to try.
Notice how the bee charmer is wearing half as much gear as the rest of us? He just kind of knew what the bees were thinking by how they were flying and didn’t seem to feel threatened at all. (See if you can find Payton and his masking-taped shirt sleeves!) I felt pretty safe with long sleeves and a veil, but if they were angry or started crawling up my pant leg, I’d feel a lot less calm that’s for sure!