This afternoon, my sister looked out the window and saw the bees swarming out in the field. She called to all of us and then grabbed a metal bowl and spoon and sprinted out into the field. My brother followed her out with a frying pan and a spoon, and not long after that, Dad emerged from his office and joined them in the field with our large galvanized tub (pictured above and below)
I didn't know what was going on, but I grabbed my camera and ran out after everyone sensing a potential blog post in the air.
It truns out that when a hive gets too large the bees swarm out of the hive to act as decoys for the birds as the new queen finds a new place to live. As soon as she finds a place for the new hive she starts to make a noise and the bees follow her. But, if the farmer can make a louder noise the bees and eventually the queen wil follow him instead and he can deposit the entire nest into a new hive.
However, as it would happen, the queen wasn't trying to find a new nest she was just mating or something becuase all the bees eventually crowded back into their old hive. So, false alarm.
The bees are super docile when they swam and won't sting anyone. Still it was kind of counter intuitive to walk through the swarm or to get close to their nest. It almost felt like defying gravity to feel and hear them flying so close and so densely around you and still not get stung. Its something everyone should try :)
Rush Hour -- Everyone's trying to get home
We're still learning all of these bee-keeping tricks. This is the third time they've swarmed and we're still learning what to do and how to tell if it is real or just a false alarm. I love that about farm life -- most of the time it is very forgiving.