So there I was planting in the garden…lost in my own thoughts, when I vaguely noticed a very loud humming coming towards me.
I kept working.
Suddenly, the hum become a roar of buzzing and I looked up to see that I was surrounded by thousands of bees. Thousands…of…bees…right over my head. They were swarming and I happened to be right in their path.
Being the brave gardener that I am, I calmly sat down my trowel and slowly walked away.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I dropped my trowel like it was on fire and ran like a bat out of hell!
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE bees. They are my garden buddies! I do everything I can to bring these guys into my garden, especially with the bee crisis that is going on. But I am highly allergic and the thought of six or seven of those little guys hitting my head at once and getting stuck in my hair freaked me out a bit.
I ran about 20 feet away so that I could observe them from a safer distance. It was amazing to watch the way they swirled and moved as a unit. Then just as quickly as they came, they suddenly started landing in the tiny bay tree in my veggie section. Right where I was planting! Dang.
As my swarm of bees clustered in the bay tree, they formed a mass that was about 8″ wide and 12″ tall.
I did a Google search and learned that bee swarms are usually not aggressive because they do not have a hive to protect and they are busy looking for a new home. But if provoked, they will attack. They usually only stay a day or two until one of the scout bees finds a more suitable location…which is hopefully not in your barbecue, the eve of your house or some other inconvenient place.
But let’s face it. I live in the city and unfortunately, most places in our backyards would be considered “inconvenient” for bees. (Inconvenient for US, not them.)
I am sure they saw my garden in this big city and thought, “Whoo-Hoo! Check this place out boys! This place has food, water and no pesticides. Go get the Queen and we can set up PARTY CITY here!”
As I watched them, I realized that I was giving these bees the same considerations I would give any unexpected house guest. They can be a fun surprise, but I also knew that they can cause trouble.
You know what I mean?
You don’t mind a visit from an old friend, but it needs to be within reason. They can come by everyday, have a snack and perhaps a drink. But if they start spending the night and/or causing trouble in the neighborhood, you would have to ask them to leave. My tiny garden just doesn’t have a suitable location for a swarm and I have kindergarten tours here. I can’t have the kids screaming and running from bees.
So lets just hope these are street-smart bees. The kind of bees that know that there is an open field with trees one street over.
For now, I am enjoying watching my little swarm as it visits my garden. I just hope they enjoy their visit and move on…just down the road a bit. Just don’t set up house in my garden shed or my patio. Okay boys?
Stay tuned…(see comments for updates)
You can learn more about the bee crisis/Colony Collapse Disorder at these links:
Scientific American Article with the latest information on Colony Collapse Disorder