You see that brown mass in the tree that looks like a saggy market bag? Bees. A whole mess of teeming, ready-for-new-lodgings bees.
We should have been working, but when the Bee Guru called saying he had a swarm removal in the neighborhood, we "absconded" for a lesson in swarm removal.
Bees swarm because they've outgrown their current hive. The swarm ball is a half-way point, giving the bees a chance to decide where to move. They aren't particularly dangerous and move on in matter of hours. Stumbling on a ball of bees is likely to give anyone pause. But the bees are more interested in finding new digs than deploying their stingers. So rather than spraying them yourself, which is likely to result in this (queue video), or call an exterminator, the best solution is calling a professional beekeeper, who will relocate the bees to a rescue hive.
In this case, the neighbor with the swarm is another beekeeper. She was ready with a fully prepared hive, happy to be the beneficiary of these rogue pollinators.
Conditions, though, weren't ideal. The swarm had collected in the upper branches of a pine tree about 25 feet off the ground. The only way to access the bees was from the roof.
The process is extremely low tech but treacherous at such a height. Clipping away a few branches to get at the swarm, the Bee Guru shook the bees into the plastic bin and immediately covered it.
While the bees are relatively docile all balled up in their swarm, they don't take kindly to being shaken into a plastic tub. Nor do they like being unceremoniously dumped into a new home.
Bees were everywhere. And mad as hornets.
But soon were ensconced in their new home, if not happily, at least satisfied that they were in a nice, sticky place full of sugar water.
The bees--and the people who care about them--continue to amaze.