B r e a k f a s t W i t h T h e B e e s

A sharing on the Birth, and Life

of a Honey Bee Colony at Grass Lake Sanctuary, grasslakesanctuary.org

Manchester, Michigan

Thursday, August 2, 2012

News Since April: Part Three: A New Swarm, A New Home

Part Three - The Next Day

Hi Everyone,

Today I appreciated more, the miracle that it was... as Sunday I was perhaps more concerned about whether the barrel would make a suitable home. Walking down the lane today and getting the first glimpse of the bees buzzing about the entrance hole in the barrel I felt so joyful, I did a happy dance there in celebration. I feel so blessed and grateful for all that they are teaching me.
Here is a photo from Sunday.

I was a bit shocked at the image the bees seemed to be forming in the photo - a human form.

and here is video of Sunday's swarm delivery into the barrel

video of the barrel of bees, moments after delivery

Day Two -
They seem to be enjoying their new home:

and here is again is the interview we did the night of the swarm -
with a recap of the year.

News Since April: Part Two: A New Swarm, A New Home

continued from part one...

Part Two -

same day I came upon and experienced the beautiful swarm at the sanctuary...

wondering where they would call home...

Last week I had taken a big wine barrel home to clean out.  It had been sitting by the cabin near the pond since the land was purchased several years ago.  I was hoping it could perhaps be turned in to a house for honey bees.  I hosed it out well, and let it dry in the sun, but did not work with it otherwise. I decided to bring it back to the land with me today thinking perhaps Tim could do some work on it with a new tool he has for routing out trees.
I pulled it out of my car and rolled it up close to where the bee swarm was gathering.
I had a "lid" for it - a circular piece of plywood that I found in one of the scrap piles from the work that was being done on the upper cabins.
Hmmmm.... ?
Bees....large swarm, .....20+ feet up in a tree, ...... old wine barrel, ......5 foot ladder from Janice's garage...
Some pieces were coming together, yet some pieces still missing.....
"I think I'll take a walk..."
"It is, what it is, of course..." I said to myself.
I wasn't going to fret over not having a "proper" home, but would just follow any threads from here...
I made some calls...
Joe was on his way to the land to do some work and he had an 8 foot ladder with him! "Okay - that would help".
Tamara and Tom just got home and were excited to come out and see the bee swarm... they're on their way,
"ok...great they were there last time and that seems right..."
on with my walk...
...came upon the scrap pile again, by the eloos...(outdoor luxury toilets) there were lots of cedar shingles in the pile... hmmmm....?
"these look useful... Im not sure for what, but I'll take them back with me".
Back at the barrel.
"These cedar shingles can be used to raise the floor in the barrel" The bees don't like too big of a space. That was one concern with the barrel - too big and drafty. The shingles were long enough to lay horizontally across, about 3/4 of the way down, so they made for a cozier space, they also served as a ceiling - under the plywood disc roof.
"okay - it just might work as a bee house"
Tamara, Tom, and Joe arrived.
Climb the ladder .....that was easy.... stand on top rung, reach up overhead to the branch with the loppers....
"aaahhhh..... I don't think I can do this, at least not without a third hand to hold the branch the bees are on to steady as I cut..."
" I think I can do it," I hear Tamara say from below...
Up she went, we all talked it through, I stood a length below her on the second ladder to help lower the branch once it was cut, and the guys steadied the ladders.
Some inbetween stuff happened , but miraculously the branch and the bees came down smoothly, and I have to say, Tamara's balance - standing, not on the top rung, but on the TOP of the 8 foot ladder, reaching overhead and cutting the branch and lowering it with a huge swarm of bees clung to it was truly an amazing feat, and miracle in itself!!
We both held an end of the branch and walked the bees over to the barrel. The swarm was so full along the branch that it had to be turned vertical over the hive so that when it was tapped, they all dropped into their new home - the barrel. So, I stood there - branch and bees in hand and did like before - tapped the branch actually on the cedar-board floor of the barrel and they all went in - well, many, perhaps even most went in - there were quite a few buzzing around the scene, before and after....
We showed them their entrance-way and then closed them up - laying the cedar shingles over the top of the barrel followed by the round disc plywood and some bricks on top to hold it in place.
I've read quite a bit about what bees like in homes, and gosh, I don't know, I have a lot of wonder about the barrel, in the condition it is in, but I trust in the bees. Perhaps it will be just a resting place for the night, or perhaps they'll find it quite suitable for their long term needs.
I feel blessed once again that they shared the sacred time of the swarm with us, that I was there to witness the energy of their take off from the mother hive (which by the way will continue on with a new queen - which is exciting as well).

to be continued in part three - next post

News Since April! Part One: A New Swarm, A New Home

An exciting event happeed on May 13th,  my apologies for the late entries!
The event is summarized in the brief video interview below,
 if you want the details continue reading....
a 3- part story is told over the next three posts...

Part One: 
I went out to the land Sunday, Mother's day to check on things... and what timing indeed!
I was going to go in the morning, but since it was rainy, delayed my trip until the afternoon.
The bee observatory (a new and unique structure being built for the bees on the land) looks super cool, yet needs some work, before it is ready.
I checked on the bees down the lane, and boy, although I didn't actually look inside, the hive energy seem swollen - full, ready to pop, but I was trying to stay optimistic that they'd wait until we had the home ready.
I went back to the new structure and was taking some measurements for things that were needed.
I was then on the phone with someone, until I sensed something in the background that was distracting me - a noise, I told the person on the phone I had to go -
The noise was a
loud hum ... inside I sensed what was happening... I could feel the vibration of the bees in my body as I walked back down the lane. The hum got louder and louder until there I was, standing in a huge, and most beautiful cloud of bees - stretching out 40 feet or more around me. Hard to imagine all those bees were inside the small hive.
There was a bit of wistfulness - that I did not have a home prepared for them, but that soon dissipated in the amazing beauty of the swarm - another birth, a miracle to witness.
Amidst the beauty of the swarm
The swarm started to gather in a small maple tree near by - about 30 feet from the home hive.
May you find a good home!
Not far from home
continued in Part Two - next post