Thursday, June 21, 2007


Mid-afternoon today, I wandered down the driveway to the spot where I found the swarm of bees yesterday, just curious whether the stragglers had flown off or were still hanging around. To my surprise, there were a LOT of bees flying around the area.

I moved closer to see if they were gathering on the ground, and saw that they were holed up in the middle of a 4" x 4" vinyl fence post that was laying nearby. They were NOT calm and easy-going like yesterday--one flew over and stung my eyebrow. When I calmly moved away, several followed, and one buzzed after me as far as the house.

I checked back later, and noticed another congregation of bees up in the huge arborvitae tree under which I found yesterday's swarm. Mason and I noticed yesterday that there seems to be a hollow place in the crotch of the tree, about 8 feet off the ground. At first we wondered if the swarm had been displaced from there, but I'd never seen any sign of it being a bee tree (white streaks and wear on the bark below the opening, and bees frequenting the area).

I also noticed a large number of bees flying around the pile of fresh wood chips nearby. Odd. Perhaps they are drawn by sap from the freshly-chipped wood.

I called Mason and reported all this to him. He came out this evening and checked the hive of the swarm from yesterday. They were doing well, the queen was fat and happy and Mason was amazed at the weight of the frames after just one day...these bees have put up more stores overnight than the other hive has in a couple months.

So the swarms by the driveway are not yesterday's swarm moving back to a queen that was left behind. They are not huge swarms like yesterday's. It's hard to know what to do. As night fell, the tree swarm moved closer into the crotch of the tree. Perhaps they will make their home there. If the queen is in tree already, there's not much chance of getting her out. As long as the bees aren't too defensive, a bee tree would be kind of neat to have.

We decided to wait and see what happens in the morning. I notified the neighbor (just as she was about to start mowing on the other side of the fence) and called the tree service that has been using my place as a depository for wood chips when they are working in the area. No sense in anyone else getting stung just because they didn't know the bees were there!

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