When you are visited by a swarm of honey bees (unlike a plague of locusts), it’s a good thing even though you don’t want to live with one. Wednesday morning I noticed some bee activity around a waste can outdoors, used for garden debris. By mid-afternoon, that activity had accelerated in both the number of bees as well as their frantic activity level. Something had to be done but what? Who you gonna call when you’re a city gal now living in the country? First, who you don’t call is Orkin which, after 10 minutes trying to up-sell me on an annual contract, said they would charge me $300 to remove the swarm.
By that time, it was after business hours and so I left a message with another company, We Care Pest Solutions in Petaluma. The call came in at 8 this morning and a friendly woman said “You need a beekeeper.” She assured me I could Google a resource.
Within 10 minutes, I was speaking with Nadya Clark, a Sonoma Beekeeper, who is on a list maintained by the Sonoma Beekeepers for Swarm Removal. And, by 10:30 she had arrived with everything needed to deal with the matter, including a lot of fascinating information about bees. So we donned the gear and went to work, or rather Nadya did while I observed. She carefully moved some of the contents of the bin into a wood hive box and then watched to see if more bees followed. If they did, that would mean that she had relocated the queen to the box and the rest would follow. Not being entirely sure that was the case, Nadya took the next step and carefully dumped the remaining bin contents onto a sheet and proceeded to carefully go through manually, separating out true garden debris until bees were no longer interested in the sheet. Finally, she placed the wood hive on a bin next to the garden bin, leaving enough of a gap for everyone to come home for the night.
Nadya returned around 8:30 tonight to remove the box (and the bees) and find another home for them. “How much for the service?” I asked. Nothing was the response. She was just happy that I had taken the time to call her so the bees could be relocated.
Now here’s the punch line of this tale: swarming bees reproduced in our area are already adapted to Temelec’s microclimate. So after a couple of days in Nadya’s care, the bees will be delivered to a beekeeper who (wait for it) lives in Creekside!
For your resource list: www.sonomabees.org, click on Swarm List, and then click on East Cluster for our area. There are several people listed for Sonoma.
By: Trish Rodimer