Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Swarm

Photo by bloodspot. Photo of the day

Yesterday as I was sitting in my room, rummaging through some notebooks with the window open,  a persistent bee came in and started investigating.  I think now that he was a scout because about an hour later I heard what was an unmistakable and exciting sound.... that of a hive in swarm.  

Ever since we have had this property we have known that we share it with a small colony of bees that live at the base of one of the olive trees on our hill above.  Every year around this time they send out their most experienced scouts to find a suitable place to split the hive, taking a new queen with them.   The scouts come back with their bee dance to try to convince the other scouts to go have a look.  When they all dance the most excitedly about a location, that's the one they will choose.

Luckily there are still a lot of wild spots in the surrounding neighborhoods near us.  If you see a swarm in a vulnerable spot and aren't sure that they can find a place in your neighborhood, the fire department usually know some bee keepers who will give them a home.  Make sure about this though, because the most tragic thing of all would be to eliminate them.

I have a soft spot for bee life and I don't use pesticides so as to protect this necessary helper in our food chain. Let's face it , without pollination, we would be eating grubs and grasses and not much else.  

But I also just have a thing about bees since my father raised bees when we were kids and taught us all about how to do it.  

  My dad ordered the queen in the mail surrounded by her attendants and just deposited her in the hive and let her get started laying.  The community of a hive and its sophisticated communication is awe inspiring and humbling.  

As a child, I got a lot of fun also out of opening my hand to an unsuspecting kid in the neighborhood and depositing a drone or male bee in the outstretched palm.  That was worth it every time for the loud and explosive reaction.  Of course, the drones can't sting.   I knew this, but the other kids wouldn't know the difference.  

I think it is great that our" ruche sauvage"  here in the olive tree keeps dividing and going forward . Wasn't it interesting that the bees swarmed on Easter, the Christian symbol for resurrection? 


  1. "I love your blog Mary!"


  2. "Great Mary! You're the Bee's knees and chronicler!"