Yesterday I was surprised by a swarm of bees in my front yard! They clouded the lawn then settled on a young tree, pretty as you please.

I tried to figure out what I would do with another hive of bees, but couldn't. We can't have pets at our duplex, and we don't need any more bees at work. At any rate, I've only ever caught one swarm, so I wasn't quite sure how to go about it. (I should have watched these videos over at Mistress Beek).

I rang up a beekeeper on the Santa Clara Valley Beekeepers Guild website.

Bruce Wright, who learned beekeeping when he was a kid, came over that evening. "I usually like to catch them at night, because then all the foragers and scouts are back," he said. But this was the time he had, and bees, like time and tide, wait for no man.

It was amazingly fast. He held a 5-gallon bucket up to the tree, gave the tree a fast jerk, and –whump!– the cluster of bees landed in the bucket. He put a screened lid on the bucket, and soon there were bees on the screen fanning like crazy, which is bee language for "Hey girls, the queen's in here!"

This morning there was a fist-sized clump of bees on the tree, huddled together, no doubt wondering where everyone had gone. I hope they can find a local hive to take them in.



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