Bees in the Trees

July 19, 2010

Do you hear what I hear? Bees, there are bees, humming in the trees, and I think they came from my hive. Yes, I’m sure that they came from my hive. (with my apologies to Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker).

Yes, I have bees in the trees (just one tree actually, but I liked the rhyme). I thought I’d mosey down and visit the hives this morning and before I could see them (they are in an area of 6’ tall grass, plants, and trees – well, the trees are well over 6’) I could hear them.  Not a good sign.  My mind was running through possibilities – upset bees?  No, probably a swarm.  Mine?  Oh, most likely, dear.  OK, I have a box, but no frames, perhaps I can borrow some frames from Bill.  Hmmm, the last swarm I saw was nice and low – I hope this one will be too.

HA!  Way way up in a willow, I don’t know 50, 60, 80 feet?  Here’s a few shotsswarm1 with all 10x optical zoom from my camera.


swarm 2



swarm 3







There will be no recapturing this swarm, unless…  You see, a storm is brewing.  Silly bees should not be in the top of a tree, or outside at all, when it is raining.  I hope they have the wherewithal to go back to the hive.  I’ve heard it has happened before.  IF they go back to their hive then they’ll swarm again later – but maybe, just maybe, they’ll swarm to a lower location, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll notice, and maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to catch it and set it up in another box.

More likely, these bees aren’t going to be making honey for me anymore.  I always try to look on the bright side, and there are many here (it is a multi-faceted situation).  If the bees survive the winter they’ll be adding to the local feral bee community, which from my experience is pretty limited (although I’ve now added three swarms to it – this one and two last year).  From a beekeeper’s point of view there is a saying that July swarms are “not worth a fly” – they don’t have enough time to store honey, presumably for the beekeeper, before the nectar flow fades.  I hope they have enough time to store enough for their own winter survival. And frankly, I’m out of equipment and would have to do some serious begging to put together another hive on short notice.

Lessons learned?  In June put on 2 supers, not just 1.

I did put extra boxes on yesterday – too late for this hive though – once they’ve made swarming plans it is hard to change their collective mind without significant intervention, which is just not my beekeeping style.

Bye bye, bees.



  1. Did the bees return? Or did they move to a more accessible location?

    • they were still there Monday afternoon, after a good rain, but were gone Tuesday afternoon. I hope they live long and prosper.

  2. Did you catch the story about beekeeping on NPR this morning?


    • Thanks – I missed it this morning.

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