Yard Classifieds: A Poem by Sarah Ann Winn

Honeybee

Yard Classifieds, June
Sarah Ann Winn


I.

Wanted to Swap:
In or near flower garden, Akron, Ohio
Need Lessons – pollination, honey-making.
Prefer that you are certified. Duration – once a day,
five thousand flowers at a time until I get the hang of it.
Willing to trade one snare drum, slightly used,
or hour for hour humming lessons. You pick.

II.

Missed connections:
Last Summer, Saw you in neighbor’s bed of thousand leaf yarrow,
next to the sun dial.
Me: Burnt, shade-driven, grass prone.
You: Compact head, bead of black dew eyes, fuzzy
yellow striped cement mixer abdomen and matching thorax, ‘u’ shaped
birthmark on your forehead.

You were too busy to look up
from your scented barista to see me trying
to direct you over to my garden.
Your thorax and legs bustled with pollen,
and I tried to catch your eye,
but the breeze carried you off before
I could think of a good opening line. Where did you fly?
I’d like to introduce you to my orchard!

III.

For Rent:
One blossoming Baldwin apple tree. Prime location,
near lilac arbor. Pale pink walls and scent left by last tenant.
Furnished and richly appointed breezy rooms by the thousand,
perfect for the young up and comer! Rent negotiable.

IV.

Lost:
Valuable figure missing from Emily’s Reverie. If found, please
return to this summer. URGENT! Making the prairie without it proving
difficult. Too late for apology or apiology. Handle with care.

 

Sarah HeadshotSarah Ann Winn lives in Fairfax Virginia. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Apeiron Review, [d]ecember, Flycatcher, Lost River Review, Lunch Ticket, Massachusetts Review and Rappahannock Review, among others. Visit her at http://bluebirdwords.com or follow her @blueaisling on Twitter.

Image: Wikimedia commons

For We Do Not Know How to Pray, A Poem by Travis Poling

For We Do Not Know How to Pray

“but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” – Saint Paul

 

Worker bees fly in from the field and dance the story of nectar: antennae circling,
abdomen humming. When I was a boy I had seizures and my body forgot how to speak;
in my silence, I rubbed buttercup pollen on my cheeks, tied dandelions into ropes.

In Russia, monks wander wordless through forests, praying for mercy with chotkis,
begging for honey from bees. One gospel says Jesus’ mouth was anointed with honey
right as the heavens ripped open, before he was silent for forty days.

The first time I stood before the altar, breaking the honey-wheat bread of Christ’s body,
my whole body trembled. I was speechless.

If you ever lost the capacity to speak, would you dance like the honey bee—
pointing your people to the wild, wild nectar of endless yellow blossoms?

 

____________________________________________________

 

Poling Travis

 

Travis Poling is a poet, liturgist, and teacher living in Richmond, Indiana.
His work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, and a self-published
chapbook. He edits the William Stafford Online Reader and blogs at travispoling.com.
Recently he collaborated with artist Craig Goodworth in “Vcela,” a liturgical installation
exploring the honey bee in ecological and spiritual traditions.

 

Visit http://staffordreader.com/

Incanto Incognito, A Poem by Monique Avakian

dorothyhive2

Incanto Incognito

                    … though this map has been danced out for you before,

this may be the first time you realize where you’re going …

 

People~machines crushed by the invisible hand

take flight like warmed bees

 

propelled by the ethereal sound of live, improvised music

their winged shield holds, forms a third body

of protection

 

pain, invited into the light

burns into the nothingness of understanding

 

called forth by the sound of the Spheres,

each crumpled life, in turn, unfolds into the sweet heat

of loving kindness

 

each un-shuttered heart

at once

 the Soul in search

and

the delicate anther

willing….

 

____________________________________________

Soul Work: The Story Behind the Poem

 

I went to hear a jazz trio on November 23, 2013. Near the end of the concert, round about

9:47pm, something magical happened. As the inventive musicians played in unusual ways

upon steel guitar, saxophone and upright bass, I suddenly felt that all the people in the room

were literally connected through the vibrations of sound.

 

I felt peaceful, safe and warm: like a bee at rest in a hive. I literally felt surrounded by soft

humming wings, and I felt a light wing drape over my shoulder. I felt protected. This insight

occurred in a flash, but the resonance of depth involved in this realization required more

reflection.

 

This was a sound-based experience. This was a communal experience. It was nourishing. It

was invisible and non-quantifiable. In essence, this was a spiritual matter. And, as with all

spiritual matters, the mystery led to many questions.

 

A scientist might describe what happened to me as an auditory hallucination. An energy

healer may speak of my having found a “unified field.” Since I am a poet and bees are a

traditional symbol for the soul, I chose to work with poetry to help me make sense of this

dramatic and important moment in my life. This is how my poem, Incanto Incognito, came to

life.

 

I started with research: bees use sound and dance to communicate. In some instances, bees

also generate sound during pollination practices inside the flower as they shake pollen loose

using rapid wing movement. Bees also use sound (piping) prior to swarming. (FYI: swarming

is usually non-aggressive and motivated by the need to split and relocate, due to the health

and growth of the group).

 

Like jazz musicians, artists and poets, bees use complex symbolic language in order to create,

live and thrive.

 

That’s why this particular moment at this particular jazz show felt so vital to me.

As the musicians explored improvisatory sound-play, I was transported by their giving spirit

into another realm of consciousness. I felt a tangible, though invisible, connection with

everyone in the room. This was sudden and stunning. Through the vibrancy of sound, I

moved into a peaceful state where I felt calm, safe and warm – literally protected by the

humming wings of those around me.

 

For a brief and powerful moment, I was literally a worker bee at rest in a hive.

This makes sense for me because Cornelia Street Café is a place where I go a lot to hear jazz

and poetry: a tangible place I visit to connect with others of like mind. I recharge and then

leave again to go out into a busy world of work and struggle. My relationship with Cornelia

Street Cafe is similar to that of worker bee with beehive.

That particular evening, Susan Alcorn, Ellery Eskelin, and Michael Formanek led listeners

into a place of strength and beauty and empowerment. I carry their spirit with me to this day.

So touched, we touch others—it’s a matter of soul. The CD of the music I heard is available

here.

 

Monique Avakian Photo

 

Bio: When Monique Avakian was 10, she really thought that if she just focused in hard

enough she would be able fly like a witch through the night. Magical objects such as

a broken watch with a cracked face or a tiny fistful of fake diamonds were key to

such endeavors. It never seemed to occur to her that the basement was perhaps not

the ideal locale for such experiments. Monique regularly travels through time and

space via poetry, her vehicle of choice now for nearly five decades. Monique also

runs poetry workshops, writes jazz articles and is the founding curator of a

multi-media online literary zine. She can be reached at monava9@gmail.com.

 

Beekeeping in Tasmania: A Profile by Noel Ponthieux

 

Ponthieux 2

Life is Sweet at the End of the World

Mawbanna, Tasmania (Australia)—High-spirited and well-travelled, Nicola Charles never dreamed she’d come back to this remote, forested area and marry a beekeeper. Or give up her successful nursing career to run the office, marketing and processing sides of Blue Hills Honey, her husband’s family business. But, she shrugs, it’s a good life.

“If you want Ferraris and condos, you don’t go into beekeeping,” Nicola muses over cups of tea after giving several visitors a tour of the Blue Hills Honey packing facility and warehouse.

Easygoing but keen to give us the whole story, she laughs often, occasionally pushing a strand of dark auburn hair back into its ponytail. “We’re never going to make a fortune, but we have quality of life, raise families, do what we want to do. It’s a flexible lifestyle, so we can go to trade shows in Melbourne and Hong Kong…but it’s always nice coming home, driving over those hills.”

Ponthieux 3Those hills are situated in northwest Tasmania near the coast and the pristine Tarkine Forest. Tasmania’s northwest coast is often called “the end of the world” because the sea west of Tasmania flows uninterrupted until it washes the coast of Argentina, half a world away. That means air travels 16,000 kilometers across nothing but the Southern Ocean and the Arctic before it arrives at the Tasmanian coast and sweeps over the island as immaculate wind and rain. It is truly the purest air on earth.

The climate, the water, and the Tarkine Forest itself all add the savor of an unspoiled terroir to the Charles family’s honey. The Tarkine is the world’s second-largest temperate rainforest,  stretching over 117,870 acres, and Blue Hills operates the only apiary in its abundantly blossoming wilds. In fact, their beekeeping team comprises 10 of the 20 people who are even allowed access to the area each year.

Tasting the Tarkine: Leatherwood and manuka

Nicola, head beekeeper Robbie and their team produce leatherwood, Tasmanian manuka, meadow, blackberry, and prickly box honey using modern but small-scale production techniques. Leatherwood honey is their flagship product, its bright floral notes anchored by a caramel richness that lingers pleasantly on the back of your tongue. The ancient Leatherwood tree grows exclusively in Tasmania’s wild, remote Tarkine rainforest, where it originated nearly 65 million years ago. Its delicate pink and white blossoms appear briefly between January and March to release a fast flow of deep-gold aromatic honey.Ponthieux 1

“Leatherwood honey flows flat out,” Nicola says, “but the manuka flow is totally different: long, slow, small. We keep the bees tighter and warmer, with one small box on them. It’s longer and harder for the bees, and the honey is tougher to extract from the frames as well. We can run manuka frames through the cold extraction machine twice, and still have to scrape the honey out manually. That’s if the manuka honey is flowing at all. One year you get plenty, the next you get a small to medium flow, and the third year you get nothing. That’s just what nature does! We brought in just 15 tonnes last year (2012), and this year we have none.”

The Charleses only discovered manuka on their patch in 2009, from what they believed were simple wildflowers growing head-height near one of the Tarkine’s sweeping plains. “We took wildflower honey to a honey buyer, he tested it, said ‘that’s manuka honey, I want it!’—and he bought the whole lot!” Nicola remembers.

Despite the difficulties in harvesting and extracting manuka, it opens another worthwhile market for the family enterprise. Manuka honey is highly sought after for its antibacterial properties, which derive from the manuka flower’s high concentration of a compound called methylglyoxal (MGO). The naturally occurring antibacterial factor in Tasmanian manuka honey ranges in concentration from 30–550 MGO; Blue Hills’ manuka honey MGO goes up to 500+.

Head beekeeper Robbie and his team of six beekeepers breed, monitor, and transport bees for up to 1,800 hives located throughout the temperate Tarkine rainforest. At harvest time—“as soon as that scent’s in the air”—they literally go with the flow, packing up 80,000–100,000 bees and moving them late at night. In the morning, the hives are positioned at the sites of honey flows, and by the next day, beekeepers place frame-filled honey boxes on top of the hives to catch the honey flow. The large, Full Depth honey boxes can hold up to 20-30 kilos of honey, but the rate of flow depends largely on the type of honey as well as environmental conditions.

Ponthieux 5

Generation B

When Robbie’s father, Reuben Charles, launched his bulk honey business in 1955, he may not have envisioned crafting gourmet brands for high-end markets—but the transition to artisanal producer has made Blue Hills a business that can grow in harmony with the next generation.

Nicola traces the history: “Robbie’s grandfather kept bees as a hobby; then his father and mother expanded the hobby into madness up to 1,600 hives. Robbie’s mum and dad started the bulk honey business, and Robbie’s been working alongside his dad since he was 14. He picked up a lot of the traditional beekeeping skills season through season.

“Now, I was away from Mawbanna for 20 years, working as an intensive care nurse in Hobart, Melbourne and London. I came back to visit…bought a bottle of red wine on New Year’s Eve…and next thing I’m marrying the boy next door from all those years ago!”Ponthieux 4

When asked about the long-term view, Nicola is positive but philosophical. “Fate has a lot to do with where we go. We just want to be the best beekeepers we can, make the best product that we can, and have happy customers and happy staff. It’s a combination of the right equipment, careful monitoring, and knowledgeable handling by a few well-trained people.” A sudden thought brings out a chuckle. “Even if Robbie left beekeeping professionally, he’d still keep a few hundred hives out in the bush, so he’d have something to do in the bees if we have an argument. He often laments, as an old beekeeper told him, ‘One day, boy, you will know why we keep bees.’”

Clearly, Nicola and Robbie could write the book on beekeeping in the Tasmanian wild. “I haven’t the time!” she protests, but as her guests help clear away the teacups, they suspect she’ll find a way.

Noel PonthieuxAbout the Author: Originally from New Orleans, Noël Ponthieux writes for love or money in Portland, Oregon. She’s currently working on a novel featuring Napoleon vs. the pirate Jean Lafitte.

Photos:
Beekeepers in action: Nicola Charles
Bees & leatherwood flowers: Kylie Sheahen Photography
Robbie & Nicola with Blue Hills Honey: The Advocate 

On the Apiary: A Poem by Monica Schley

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On the Apiary

Recipe for Map, Honeycomb & Wineglass:

 
A cloud of birds rests in nettles like shadows stopping to picnic in a painting. The sound of a human in high grass scares them off. A woman wearing plastic gloves made from bread bags clips the foliage carefully, so the nettles don’t sting.

Drive to areas with elevations low, near a lake. Often county roads are thin blue lines. There you will find your best wild food.

Add raisins
to help the yeast rise

this is what he says, sneaking one into his mouth, while the other hand drops a fistful into the liquid in the large bucket below. The raisins float like flies on foam. Part of the skin sticks to his teeth.

Like a Van Gogh painting, buzzards above the August field circle & circle the blond corn— silently. It was a scorcher the farmer declared & there were more spiders that year than anyone could recall.

A spigot of silvery water in the sunshine forms elaborate pools on the lawn. While drizzles of honey move out of each comb along the sides of the metal spinner, the woman looks out the window & at some point, a song melts from the wax.

Still life with Porcelain, Bees and Twigs:

A poultice of baking soda & water will force the stinger out & reduce swelling. Mix with a spoon in a small Tupperware© (found at your local conglomerate) and stir into a thick white paste.

1 Tbs. baking soda
1/4 Cup warm water

Ouch, she said.

You’re hurting me.

He wanted to adopt

a new perspective, a new recipe on how to live as rural American gone urban gone rural again. How many years for each place was the question. He thought both suns were equally as bright.

The comb empty
is like having a hand over one eye.

Recently, against a wineglass, an old grey collection of mortared stones served as back drop to a 30 second television commercial. The glass was poured full of golden mead, as Debussy’s “Girl With the Flaxen Hair” played. Then a woman’s hand picked it up. The camera zoomed in and the viewer was able to see her smile at the glass and drink from it. While the music slightly slowed to end she sat down on a red bench stained the color of menstrual blood.

I’m too young
for you, she said.

But I love you
he said.

Unlike the wasp, a honeybee will sting its victim only once, and then die.

Served with crackers or bread, fresh watercress can be chopped up with onions or cucumbers. To find a patch, look in cool marshes with some sun, or a ditch. Wash well, especially if found near a road.

1/2 onion finely chopped
1 small cucumber
Dash of salt
1 Tbs. Vinegar (white or apple cider)

Mix with watercress to taste. Serve on rye bread, which is noted for its soft brown depth, (or if you’re feeling dry, a cracker). Cut off the crusts & shape the soft part with a knife (diamond, clover, square, et cetera) and save the crusts to make silly mustaches & laugh with your guests.

Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild:

Pinecones spend their summer in a birdbath, resting in rainwater.

For most effective results
find what is missing
& then give it up.

Line 54, Every tree sends its fibers forth…, was written by Henry David Thoreau

 

monica-headshot

 

Monica Schley was raised on a historic apiary in NE Wisconsin. Since 2001, she calls Seattle, WA home. She works as a freelance harpist recording, playing therapeutic bedside music in hospitals and teaching. She also performs regularly in public with various ensembles and for private events. Her poems have been published in Burnside Review, Cranky, Cream City Review, and Raven Chronicles. In 2009, her chapbook Black Eden: Nocturnes was published by Pudding House Press. More on her work, blog and music can be found at monicaschley.com andsoundcloud.com/harppoet

 

Poem: Nurse Log, by Todd Davis

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NURSE LOG

Bend back the bark of the world,
which is its skin, which is the way
we learn how veins carry blood
away from the heart, then back
into its echoing chambers. I’m tired
of hearing about the kind of men
who would kill me, the news of bombs
going off in endless loops on late-night TV.
In the forest above our house a fisher
stalks porcupines, and every so often
I find their torn bodies, once even
a corpse in the crotch of a white oak.
Its animal face lay open, empty and red
where the fisher’s teeth had bitten down
to avoid the quills and to keep
the belly meat untouched. In nature
there is waste that good grows out of,
an abundance we are called to use.
In spring when we coax the bees
toward a new hive, Alverdia fetches
her wooden spoon and metal washbasin,
stands beneath the shad and pawpaw trees
whose blossoms the bees cover,
whose limbs sprout ten thousand wings,
and there she drums the basin
and hums a song she’s made
for herself and for this swarm
that will follow her anywhere.
This isn’t the news of the world
most of us live in. Two streams
meet in the floodplain where wet fires
of rot lap against fallen hemlocks.
Five seedlings have sprung up
along one of the logs, nursing decay
like piglets down a sow’s length, or like
an infant in a desert village suckling
a mother’s breast, oblivious to the murmur
of planes crossing overhead.

“Nurse Log” was first published by Ecotone and later in the collection In the Kingdom of the Ditch (Michigan State University Press, 2013).

Todd Davis (1)Todd Davis is the author of four full-length collections of poetry—In the Kingdom of the Ditch, The Least of These, Some Heaven, and Ripe—as well as of a limited edition chapbook, Household of Water, Moon, and Snow: The Thoreau Poems.  He edited the nonfiction collection, Fast Break to Line Break: Poets on the Art of Basketball, and co-edited Making Poems: Forty Poems with Commentary by the Poets.  His poetry has been featured on the radio by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac and by Ted Kooser in his syndicated newspaper column American Life in Poetry.  His poems have won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Editors Prize, and have been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize, appearing in such noted journals and magazines as American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, Ecotone, Poet Lore, North American Review, Indiana Review, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, Image, Orion, West Branch, River Styx, Notre Dame Review, Poetry Daily, Quarterly West, Green Mountains Review, Sou’wester, Verse Daily, and Poetry East.  He teaches environmental studies, creative writing, and American literature at Pennsylvania State University’s Altoona College. Visit http://www.todddavispoet.com for more.

 

A Poem by Christine Colasurdo

honey_bee_portugal-300x206

HONEY BEE CAUGHT INSIDE AN AIR-CONDITIONED BUS
IN PORTLAND, OREGON ON JULY 19, 2002

For Claire

What I thought was an empty seat
was you, cooled and woozy.
I took the neighboring seat,
then lifted you onto a birthday card
fetched from my purse.
You toddled tipsy at the edge,
a drunk teetering on a tightrope.
Don’t fly.
For a long time we sat that way,
you looking dizzy, me worrying.
Then I pulled the bus rope and rose
with you, still unsteady, on the card.
We re-entered the heat of the day.
I apologized for releasing you downtown,
amid the stink and rush of Homo sapiens,
no doubt miles from your hive.
I placed you on a yellow petal
of a tall chrysanthemum
in a tidy, landscaped bed
at the base of a skyscraper.
I was so sorry.
I thought you were dying.
But then.

Image: What’s That Bug?

Image

Writer and calligrapher Christine Colasurdo grew up playing in woods near her family’s house in Portland, Oregon. She remembers huge flocks of migratory birds from her childhood as well as lots of wasps, ants, grasshoppers—and bees. She provides habitat for mason bees in her back yard and is currently enjoying watching a hive of wild bumblebees thrive in a repurposed birdhouse. Whether it’s from their beauty or stamina, bees are always teaching her how to live.

Christine has won numerous awards for her poetry, and she’s the author of two books on the outdoors: Return to Spirit Lake: Life and Landscape at Mount St. Helens (2010) and Golden Gate National Parks: A Photographic Journey (2002). She was awarded a 2010 residency from the U.S. Forest Service and has twice been a featured guest on National Public Radio. She has also written radio commentaries for KQED FM, including one about pollinators.

She has given lectures in Oregon, Washington, and California about Mount St. Helens. As a volunteer, she has created three museum exhibits about the volcano, has served on the board of the Mount St. Helens Institute, and has worked to protect the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and neighboring lands from road-building, logging, development, and mining. Visit christinecolasurdo.com.

Forward

Lizzie Harper

Forward, Winged

        A year ago on June 19th, the seeds of Winged were planted when an estimated 50,00 bumblebees were killed by pesticides in Wilsonville, Oregon. That number was especially shocking since bumblebees tend to live in colonies of 25 – 75 bees. The loss was, obviously, staggering. Poet, educator, and editor Melissa Reeser Poulin was immediately moved to respond. Thus, Winged was born.

 

          Feeling outraged and wanting to utilize art as activism, but not having a connection to the larger beekeeping community and knowledge base, a common friend introduced me to Melissa. To say it was kismet is trivializing the partnership and connection; I think we both would feel comfortable citing fate. I am a local poet and writing instructor, and owner of Bee Thinking. Our partnership has been a perfect fit.

 

        Being awarded a grant from Regional Arts & Culture Council gave Winged a specific shape and task, one we have approached with vision, humility, and zeal. We received approximately 200 submissions and had a long process of carefully considering each one, and guiding the book into a primary, then secondary, and now (almost) final shape. We cannot thank the writers enough who submitted their work, we simply can’t. It has been heartening to witness not only how many writers care deeply about bees, but also the fortification of the age-old relationship between artist and bee (as symbol and muse), actualized on paper. Bees have influenced artists and writers since ancient times and we can attest that the relationship is still intact, and strong, as Winged itself will illuminate.

 

        Here in Oregon, the past two weeks have been disheartening for beekeepers as a rash of insecticide poisonings have laid waste to multiple honeybee colonies in at least 4 different locations, and an eerily similar bumblebee poisoning to that of a year ago in Wilsonville, OR occurred in Eugene, a town that was dubbed the “Bee-Friendliest City” in the U.S. earlier this year. That poisoning happened a year to the day after the Wilsonville die-off that spurred Winged.

 

       The relationship between humans and bees has never been more imperiled and to that end, we as artists stand to lose one of our greatest natural symbols. Additionally, writers and artists are in the shocking position of having to record the decline of pollinators through our works. Winged is meant to be a record of this moment, as a document that artfully honors the relationship, the importance, and the beauty and peril of one of the most vital of all pollinators: the honeybee.

 

       Winged will be available this fall. Initially, it will be printed in a limited run to keep the book within budget, honor contributing writers, and meet our original goal of getting a portion of sales to pollinator conservation efforts. We personally will not be profiting in any way from Winged; quite the opposite. We will be posting information when the book is available for pre-order. Due to the limited number, we recommend purchasing early!

 

      Please also watch this blog, as we will be sharing some remarkable work from writers and supporters of Winged over the next few months.

 

    Thank you all for your support and belief in this project. It is one we feel deeply about and we are humbled, and honored, to illuminate the essential relationship between writers and bees.

— Jill McKenna Reed

The Day the Bees Died

American Bumblebee

It has been over a year since the mass deaths of over 50,000 bumblebees in Wilsonville, due to an illegal application of Safari to flowering linden trees in a Target parking lot. It was the largest documented die-off of wild pollinators on record.

The event garnered a great deal of media attention, locally and nationally, including this well-researched piece for Al-Jazeera America by renowned science writer Elizabeth Grossman. Unfortunately, such die-offs continue to occur today, with or without media attention. Just two days ago, a die-off in Eugene prompted investigation.

The shameful event in Wilsonville was the impetus for Winged. We ought to be deeply respectful of bumblebees and all pollinators that belong to the complex ecosystem of which we are but one small part. We ought to use sense and caution when legislating poisons, especially neonicotinoids, whose impact we don’t fully understand. We ought to take small steps every day to contribute to the renewed health of insects we say we love and don’t want to live without.

We’re remembering the day the bees died, and the beginning of this book. As we move toward project completion and publication, we are trying to keep bees of all kinds at the center of our work.

Photo: Bumble Bee Watch

 

Swarm Season

One of the very best parts about being a beekeeper is swarm season. You may have seen in photos or out in your neighborhood, a swarm of bees hanging from a branch around this time of year. Swarming is a natural means of reproduction where a strong honeybee colony sends its established queen and about half of the bees out to find a new home. It is a natural means of propagation that replaces colonies lost over the previous winter, and stabilizes honeybee populations in an area.

While the swarm intimidates many, in actuality a swarm is almost always an example of bees at their most docile. Swarmed bees have no brood or honey to protect, and are in a state of waiting, while their scouts are out looking for a new permanent home to move to. They will usually hang there from between two hours to two days, while the new home is decided upon through a democratic process.

As a scout arrives back to the swarm, she will dance the location of a possible new home she has found, and the other scouts will fly to check it out. When enough scouts come back and dance the same location in agreement, the swarm will take their cue and move en masse to the new locale.

As a beekeeper, I get many calls from homeowners or businesses that want to ensure the bees don’t get destroyed, but also don’t want them hanging around their property for hours or days. That is when I will go out and catch the swarm by standing beneath or alongside it, and shaking it into a box. So long as I get the queen into the box, all of the bees will quickly move to her and I can close the box and take the swarm away, and then populate one of my hives or a fellow beekeeper’s hive.

Swarming is one of the most beautiful and wondrous things bees do. If you see a swarm, admire it; you might not see another