The swarm. Episode Two.

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This is the second time a swarm has found us.

The first time we were living in San Francisco and on a hot, spring day I returned home to a strange whapping sound. I searched around the house to find that there were bees, dozens of them, hurling their little bodies against the glass windows. What the??? I thought. As I looked around, I saw that they were everywhere, whapping against the windows like in a B-movie thriller.

I made sure all the doors were closed (and locked. You know, just in case) and my breath caught when I saw the plume of smoke in the backyard. It was a 6-foot-wide , black cloud hovering over the grass. At closer inspection, I noticed the cloud was made of BEES. BEES!

The cloud was also moving, slowly, next door.

I knocked on the neighbor’s door. “Hi. I just wanted to tell you that there are a lot of bees in your backyard.”

“Okay, thanks,” the guy said, starting to close the door in my face. “No wait, like 50,000 bees. Roughly.”

We walked through his house and saw that they had gathered in a tree in his yard. It was like a gigantic Rumple Stiltskin type beard hanging from a tree. “We’re going to call someone to get them out, ” I assured him.

The bee club guy, dressed in what looked an astronaut suit came over with a cardboard box, a large stick and duct tape. He tapped the limb of the tree, holding the box below it until the beard fell, whole, with a thunk into the cardboard. Then he quickly duct taped it closed.

In the last couple of days, I have been noticing a lot of bees on our back patio. “Must be the season,” I told myself. But yesterday I heard a familiar drone. A loud, jet engine of a hum coming from the shed where our bicycles are parked. It couldn’t be… I thought.. Again?

I missed the big black cloud, but this time we were the recipients of the swarm. They are camped out in the apple tree on our patio and even though it’s pretty hot, I am terrified to open the back door.

The bee removal guy (live removal, hooray!) came by yesterday. He walked right into the shed, bees whizzing all around him and said, “Yep. Smells like pheremones in here. We’ll have to come back in the morning when they’re all in the hive.”

And so it goes. Soon the bees will be gone.

When I wrote about this on Facebook yesterday several people commented on how bees choose their homes carefully, how it’s a good omen to be chosen.

Someone even sent me the animal totem for bee, what it symbolizes, and it said something about accomplishing the impossible. I love that and hope it’s true because there are a few things in my life that feel impossible right now, and I sure would love to accomplish them.

But for now, I will welcome the swarm- the loud thrum, the chaos, the sweetness + honey.

11 Comments

  1. Posted June 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh! I love this post. I think it is a good sign that the bees come to you! I am a beekeeper and love my bees so very much. I am so happy to hear that you opted for live removal. Hurrah!

  2. Trish
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    You are the nectar that invites them back…you add such sweetness to my life and your reader’s lives….love to you….

    Trish
    oxox

  3. Kelsie
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Definitely seems a lucky sign! We kept bees for a couple of years. I had opportunity to witness a swarm. Such a powerful sound and sight! Glad you have folks in your area to help you with removal, hooray for bees!

  4. stephanie
    Posted June 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Honey bees are protected by state law in Florida. We had a 3 month bee relocation program when they hived in the spaces in the cinderblocks of my garage. Perhaps wild fires elsewhere made them relocate to your area?

  5. Posted June 22, 2013 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    I wholeheartedly agree with Trish – you are the nectar, the sweetness, exuding lovely pheromones that let the bees know that you will watch them with wonder and caution and then have them ushered to another safe place. You are a stop on their path, a safe haven, a rest area on their journey.

    PS. Everytime I see fireflies hovering over our lawn and our street, I think about you and smile.

  6. Posted June 22, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    BEES?!

    (Please tell me you’re an Arrested Development fan) :-)

  7. Barbara
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    The bees made me think of The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk. Have you read it? It will make you see/think of bees in a whole new way. Powerful medicine, bees!

  8. Posted June 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    What an amazing thing!! And although a bit disconcerting, what an amazing thing to have in your back yard!! It surely has to be a good omen…

  9. Posted June 26, 2013 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    A few years ago, we had one of the strangest David-Lynch type bee things to happen to our family.

    In our bathroom window, bees, hundreds of them between the screen and the glass would appear every morning. They would go on about their day as though they didn’t know they were on display and then at night they would disappear. It was astonishing, yet a bit creepy.

  10. Posted July 3, 2013 at 1:54 am | Permalink

    Oh good lord! I am terrified of bees and I was swarmed by some hornets last summer at our woodland retreat. I thought my throat was closing up, my husband threw me into the truck and I gulped for air. In a few minutes this chicken comes out of nowhere and starts walking down our driveway towards me. I started laughing and then I knew I was alright. I came back to my city home and found bees everywhere around my house, totally enjoying the grape vine that hangs on our house, then a week later there were more in my yard, then even more at the playground. It was a tough summer. I never, ever thought to look up the animal totem for bees and I totally do that sort of thing all the time…Your post blew me away in a very personal way. Thank you so very much for sharing this!

  11. Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this paragraph is nice, my younger sister is analyzing these things, therefore I am going to convey her.

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