I need you to do the bees by yourself today, I told Boy one. My list is already longer than I can manage and besides I’m grumpy. You’ll be happier out there without me.
Famous last words.
Boy one was back in a few minutes. An entire hive had been ripped apart. The bees were still hanging around but the top honey super (almost ready for human consumption and looking like our best producing hive) was ruined. What wasn’t scraped and eaten was filled with bugs.
The amazing part was that inside the toppled mess, the bees were still at it. Despite a night of pounding rain, two boxes of bees were hard at work. We were back and forth as to what had happened. We looked for breaks in the fence, called around for advice, read our book, and eventually confirmed that our situation met all the criteria for a bear. We also learned that there have been sightings of a bear in our area.
It took us a while to carefully put everybody back together and clean up the mess. We were finished with the work and standing to catch our breath (and talk about electric fence devoted to the hives) when we looked over at another hive.
Wow! I said. That was the hive we were worried about. Look at all those bees. That’s incredible.
So incredible that I took a picture.
Look at the sky! we all said. The picture doesn’t do it justice but hundreds of feet high and wide looked like fireworks of bees, everywhere around us, then above us.
We realized it wasn’t the kind of incredible we were aiming for (the bees were swarming) but it was such an incredible view of nature’s genius that it felt like a privilege to see it. Four of us were there at that point. Girl two left shortly after the fireworks. She was unimpressed by what we’d read about bees being gentle when they swarm. They were thick in the air, and she was out of there, thanks.
After a few minutes, they began to gather on a cedar try about twenty feet away. It took them a good five minutes to conglomerate themselves. Being there meant we could recapture the swarm. Boy one was the man of the hour and directed the recovery of our bees. (Since we spend one to two hours at the hive per week, the fact that they swarmed when we were there is especially fortunate.)
With the branch cut, Boy one carried the swarm to an open box. Luckily, we had an extra hive in the garage. We set it up, quickly read up on how to and watched the next unbelievable thing.
Just like the book said they would, a few of them figured out where the hive was and let everybody know about it. Then it was a river of bees marching across the sheet and into the hive for at least ten or fifteen minutes.
Hopes and prayers for bee mentor to materialize continue. So far, so good on no return from the bear.