Queen Betty is gone, we think
I was out in the Sunset gardens this morning shooting some flowers and plants for the magazine. I got a frantic call on my cell phone from Margaret.
“Where ARE you!? One of our hives is swarming!!!”
I grabbed the camera, ran as fast as I could (with the huge camera and tripod slowing me down) to the bee yard. Sure enough, bees were everywhere! Most in the oak tree just above the hives. We could see a ball of bees, just barely, through the branches, about 30 feet up. Too obstructed to get a good photograph.
There was a smaller cluster at Betty’s entrance that makes us think it was Betty who abandoned the hive.
We watched them in awe, doing their little bee thing. Thousands of bees flying all around our unprotected heads (there was no time to grab veils!), pooing on our clean shirts (we don’t mind). It was all over within 45 minutes. Amazing.
We think we still have bees left in Betty’s old hive— With a new queen? We want to inspect as soon as we can, but have been advised to leave the new queen (or whoever is in there) alone for a few weeks. Sigh…
More from Margaret to come later this week. Exciting stuff around the bee yard!
By Kimberley Burch, Sunset imaging specialist