Thursday, June 9, 2011

Swarm!


This time of year, my husband is especially intertwined with his bees. I can hardly talk to him without there being a bee in the vicinity, crawling across his neckline, coming out of his shirt or flying about our heads. He must pay utmost attention to his emerging queens and be prepared to catch a swarming hive at a moments notice.

The honeybees are prone to swarming in the spring. Part of the hive will separate and set off to make a home of their own. The beekeeper can keep the hive the right size and try to keep the bees happy but if the weather is just right and their mood just right those bees will up and run away from home just because they feel like it. Spring fever, youth, you know.

One lively spring we had three swarms in one week right in our own back yard. Three times I became aware that I was listening to this big hum, and looking up saw a mass of bees whirling like a hurricane in the sky. That was the spring that turned into a dry summer. I wonder if that had any precedence on the abundance of swarms that year?

Witnessing these insects gather their energy and make punctuation marks in the atmosphere reminds me of this old picture that I once saw. A farm wife had her arms up in the air and she was wailing as the her bees, like a receding black cloud, grew smaller and smaller on the horizon until they were about to disappear down into a valley. The picture caught the feeling of the moment. Somehow it portrayed just how spooky it seems when the bees do that swirling disappearing act of theirs.

Bless their little ole hearts, daring to be free. Funny how you can be sad that you will not get as much honey out of them and proud of the insects for being independent enough to fly off on their own, both at the same time.

1 comment:

  1. Dont know why Im not getting a notification that you have written something. Glad I found this early this morning. I love to read about bees. It reminds me of our bees... taken away in the back of a pickup truck. Such a sad day. I learned so much from watching them. Was thinking of the ambivalence your story speaks about...as women we cherish the sweetness of home and yet we long to launch out and go free.

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