Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bees


{My 93 y.o. grandfather and his younger (90 y.o.) brother sit on a bench in the background, Sonja (3 y.o) and Emily (0 y.o.) are in the foreground together with Martin.}

My grandfather had turned 93 last month, and my aunt and uncle were planning a small get-together of the family for that occasion. My grandfather has been a beekeeper for most of his life, so it was appropriate that some bees start swarming the day of the celebration within a few yards of the grill pit.

Here is a pictorial guide of what to do should you find a swarm of bees on your property.
0. Wait for the bees to settle into a swarm. It took them a bit to do that, a couple hours...?
1. Get prepared. And get an empty beehive ready.

2. Get positioned. That can be a bit tougher - my uncle is a tall man, and you can see his head quite a bit below the swarm. He did an amazing act of balancing on a ladder while holding the beehive (a wooden box) in one hand and a hand brush in the other.



3. Sweep the bees into the box in a couple swift moves.









4. Cover the beehive with a piece of cloth so the bees don't escape. It's impossible to get all the bees into the box, don't worry about that...

5. Move the beehive into its location, and hope the bees (or rather, their queen) will like it.


I never got to watch the catching of bees before, even though the same aunt and uncle were chasing bees the day of our wedding four years earlier... (they apologized for being a tiny bit later than they hoped to be - they were still on time that time too :).