There is no possible way you will guess what happened to us this evening. It’s so far out of the realm of normal – you just couldn’t guess. So I’ll tell you.
LOTS of bees.
(Everyone is fine.)
Jack and I were in the front yard, near-ish the road, playing before dinner. It was around 4:45 or so. I was herding him in the direction of the back door when I happened to look over at the area in front of our front door. I saw lots of flying bugs. My first thought was that it was a huge cloud of gnats. You know how gnats get. But they looked bigger, and I thought I heard buzzing. In retrospect, I’m surprised the buzzing was as quiet as it was. I snatched Jack up, and we went inside.
Went up the back stairs, paused at the door to John’s office, “something is swarming out front,” heard a “what?”, and headed for the guest room windows. Yeah, guys, it was a swarm of bees. I googled “beekeepers near me” and found the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association. Miracle of miracles: someone answered the phone.
“Um, there are a TON of bees, like, swarming in front of my house. What should we do?”
A calm voice said, “That’s very likely this time of year. Swarming is exactly what they do, and they don’t sting when they’re doing it.” Seriously, that’s the first thing he said. He knows what he’s doing, this guy. “Where are they?”
So I told him they’re on a branch in a tree in our front yard, we discussed how high up it is and if he needs a ladder or could cut down the branch, and then he said, “Text me your address and send me a picture. I’ll be there in half an hour.”
He showed up right on time, Steve the Beekeeper (lawyer by day, beekeeper by free-time). He put one of those hive boxes down the ground, cut the branch out of the tree, and with one firm shake of the branch, knocked all the bees from the branch to the ground, right in front of the box. They wasted no time flooding into it. He came back an hour later to collect it.
I asked him what he was going to do with them, and he said he’s just going to try to keep them alive. ‘Tis the season for hives to split, so we were seeing half of an older hive looking for a new place to live. They would likely have been gone by morning (that tree branch was only a stopover for the night), but if left to their own devices, they probably wouldn’t survive. Bees are apparently bad at surviving (see news about not enough bees in the world).
Want to see what ten thousand bees look like? If you’re looking out our front door, this is the tree directly in front of you. It’s right up against our front-yard neighbor’s garage.
And here’s Steve, holding the branch with the bees still on it.
The whole incident took maybe an hour and a half. What a weird day.