Swarm

Honeybee swarm

Yesterday bees swarmed our yard.

Last week a woman in Mesa, Arizona was attacked by Africanized bees – stung over a thousand times. It is that time of year when the “killer bees” swarm, and they are truly dangerous as they are very aggressive.

It turns out a child had disturbed the hive, and Africanized bees, a hybrid of African honey bees and American honey bees, attacked and the results were not pretty. Fortunately she survived the attack.

There are reports of killer bee attacks several times a year in our area of the Sonoran Desert, the bees are migrating further and further north. Sp you can imagine my apprehension when yesterday, as I was relaxing on the patio when I heard a droning noise that kept amplifying in intensity. I saw a cloud moving down the alley behind out house, and a swarm of bees overtook the back half of our yard.

I immediately retreated inside, and called in the dogs. Liz and I watched through the window as the swarm took up residence in the Palo Verde tree in our yard, adjacent to the studio. Within minutes two huge black clumps formed on the truck of the tree, and eventually merged into an eighteen-inch long cluster.

Liz and I immediately began investigating – gotta love the Google…

There was story after story of Africanized bees attacking local residents. So we then looked up exterminators and found a local professional bee collection business.  The facts on their website, as well as many other resources calmed our fears – these are just your typical honey bee.

We are now in the midst of the seasonal bee migration. Honey bees will migrate for any number of reasons. sometimes the hive is destroyed, sometimes the queen is killed or even maimed. other times it is simply due to overcrowding of the hive and a contingent breaks off to relocate.

The swarms are intimidating, scary. The community of bees moves en-masse, usually in late afternoon, and finds a likely place to rest. The honey bees are not aggressive, and unless the hive feels threatened, they will leave you alone. In most cases they move along in a day or so. The professionals will not even come out until the hive has been there for three days or more -unless there is a threat, such as the hive locating near an entrance or in an area with many children.

I was able to walk right up to the hive today and snap this photo. The hive is quiet, but many of the bees are flying about, as the cluster is quite a bit smaller than last night, foraging for food and pollinating our plants.  I am once again on our patio, enjoying the warm weather.

We will keep an eye on the hive, and if they decide to make our tree their home, then I guess we will have to ante up the $80 to pay for the professionals to contain the hive and relocate them.

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