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When 1000’s of friends show up unexpectedly for a visit…

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.

BeeSwarm 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

Help The Honeybees

EXCELLENT Video about the Bee Crisis

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy®. For 9 years, Theresa was the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.