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  • SWARM A TREASURE FOR A PIPING QUEEN

    SWARM A TREASURE FOR A PIPING QUEEN

    I visited with my daughter on Father’s Day and she receives a call in the afternoon from a neighbor who has a swarm of bees in their garden. She asks me if I want to go on a bee expedition and I agree and we take the bee suits. Ironically, this past Mother’s Day she is visiting with her Mom at her sister’s and there is a swarm of bees up in the tree. She doesn’t have her beesuit and her sister offers to construct one. She uses strong stocking netting to cover her face, a tyvek suit, and is well covered except for the thin gardener’s gloves on her hands. She climbs a ladder up the tree, takes the swarm, guides them into the box and brings them home to a beehive. She was stung many times on her hand up in the tree and added padded welder’s gloves to successfully move the bees from one neighborhood to another two hundred miles away. These are aggressive bees.
    We suit up in our bee suits in the garden down the street where we see a swarm of bees that she says are probably Italian bees, which tend to be docile. There are over 10,000 bees in this swarm and they form a sphere or ball. She cuts through the branches and reaches in to encompass the ball of bees with her hands and guides the moving sphere into the box. Some of the bees are hovering above and around and there is space for the bees to enter or exit the box. She says we should go and return in about two hours when it cools down, and the rest of the bees will go in.
    We go visit the hive that is on this property and there is a new queen that has just hatched. She is newborn and royal, the leader of the whole pack, as long as no other queens show up, for only one will survive to rule the hive. A newborn queen makes a piping sound. It’s her first sound and beekeepers rarely if ever hear it. We hear it this day and it’s one of the most beautiful sounds in all of nature. It’s a shrill sound and sounds like a baby crying, a soft persistent sound, louder than all the other bees, crying into the wind, birthing her rule, this Queen Piper is musical and closing my eyes all I hear is a baby’s cry. We return to the box and all the bees from the swarm have entered and settle in their hive that is their new home.