The bees arrived on Monday and settled onto a gourd that hangs on my garden fence. (Click the pic at left to see the larger image.)
I was so happy that all these pollinators chose to bless my garden with their presence ... and then I realized that they could not continue to live right out in the open like that.
Sure enough, the next morning they moved to a pile of brush in the woods. And the day after that, they moved to another pile of brush in the woods. Then they moved again ahead of the oncoming storm, and I feared I'd lost them forever.
It was pure chance that I spotted them the following day, all huddled up at the base of the grape arbor post. By this time I'd bonded with the swarm and was as worried about their well-being as if they were children. Thank goodness Otis the Beekeeper was able to come out that same evening and collect the darlings.
Along the way I did some research and quickly determined that I'm not ready for all the work involved in being a beekeeper. I also learned that these are amazing insects! When necessary, they give their lives to defend and protect the community.They send out scouts to look for a permanent home; scouts report back, expressing the quality of the location each has found through a bee dance, and the best location is chosen by the hive without partisan bickering. The bees communicate efficiently and effectively, and make decisions based on what is best for the hive -- for the community. They work together as a unit for the greater good of the hive.
Doesn't that seem like a sane, smart, and workable system?