This Hive Ain’t Big Enough for the Two of Us…
Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola are safe; my film-making skills are B-movie all the way, or in this case Bee movie. Grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy a minute or four of Gone With the Swarm, an action-packed epic tale shot on location on Vashon Island, Washington with a cast of thousands and a cameo appearance by the old queen bee. (No drones were injured in the making of this movie.)
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Hi Tom. I loved the swarm post and now the video. I am a lover of bees and want my own hive. Still working on making them legal, along with chickens, in our small town of Sidney BC. I was living vicariously through you this week.
Erin, that is a valiant effort. I hope you get your chickens and bees. Keep me posted!
Wow, awe-inspiring. And a little scary.
Yep, I agree Jason, I wasn’t sure how close to get. The calmer the bees, the closer I got.
Sorry Boz, the bees have it this week. Darn extras.
Not a problem, even Boz concurs.
Spectacular footage, Tom !!! Glad your bees are doing so well this year !
Thanks Brooks, hope the trend continues.
Wow Tom…incredible footage. It looked like you got very close at one point in the video near the end…you are indeed brave! Happy to see they will be recovered to their new home…and what a lovely home they have on your lovely property.
Thanks Ina, my bravery was tempered with stupidity perhaps, but it was so intriguing to see close up. And then at the end the bees, were completely, well almost completely, docile.
Great footage – I’ve never seen bees swarm before; educational and entertaining!
Thanks Martha, appreciate the feedback and glad you enjoyed it.
That was spectacular! I’ve never seen anything like it. Thank you for posting it. (And so brave for someone allergic to bees!)
Thanks Penny, the good news is over the years my reaction to bee stings has lessened and lessened. At one time, I’d swell up like the Michelin Man and head to the emergency room.
That was fascinating. I’ll leave the bees to you since I’m allergic. I sure hope Gracie is OK after her ordearl
Hi Margaret, Gracie is fine, I quickly coaxed her away from the swarm with a treat I had in my pocket (my secret weapon). She limped a bit for a little while then rebounded within an hour.
This is a very nice video! So many people are terrified by swarms but swarming bees are so fixated on what they are doing they pretty much ignore everything around them. Our hives swarmed too much last year but we did get pretty good at capturing them. Our most active hive this year – Demeter – is one of those captured swarms.
The whole science of swarms is fantastic. Scouts go out and find a place of bivouac. They then return to the hive, compare notes and then fly off to the best one. The taking off is great – bees every where, spiraling up into the air, pooing as they go – and they all gather at the bivouac with, as you said, the queen in the middle of the cluster. After they rest up a bit scouts go out again to find a more permanent residence. Off they zoom, come back, compare notes, and fly off to a new home!
It seems that the best time to capture a swarm is during the bivouac phase. If you can catch the queen in some kind of container – a bucket with a lid, or a cardboard box, etc. – all the other bees in the cluster will follow her in! The swarm is ready to populate an empty hive!
Thanks Tom for providing this video! Don’t panic if you see a swarm! It is Nature at her very best!
Also, Tess the Wonder Dog sends condolences to Gracie. Tess knows what it’s like to get stung – she insists on eating honeybees! Silly girl.
Wow, Margaret, great description of what goes on behind closed honeycombs. I just put the swarm in a top bar hive today. I’ll share photos as it’s a pretty fancy one that’s on loan from my friend David. And go Tess go!
I’m dying to know how it all turned out!!! Did you capture ( coax!) the Queen into a new hive? Have you doubled your bee enterprise? Your film gives me a sliver of hope! So great that bees are thriving on the island!
I was just out at the ‘new’ top-bar hive we set up yesterday. We captured the bees, and I’ll post some pics later today and maybe a video of their fancy new digs, too.