Week 25 MKMMA: Swarming BEES are taking the HEROS JOURNEY!
It is spring and the bees are already collecting pollen for their brood. They can fly when outside temperatures get above 7 C. Being a beekeeper is a fascinating journey. One starts to look at which plants are in flower and what color their pollen is. There is tons of orange pollen, lots of yellow pollens and some white, black and blue pollens. Each has its own amino acid profile for the protein needed for baby brood development. My bees are bringing in light yellow and dark orange pollen right now and I don’t see anything in flower. They have better eyes than I do…..and that is a good thing.
When a hive is really healthy/strong, it wants to reproduce itself and starts the process of swarming. The worker female bees will develop queen cells that are round and face downwards in the hive. The queen will lay eggs into those cells. The hive decides which bees will leave with the swarm and which ones will stay at home to tend the home hive. When the queen eggs are almost ready to hatch, all swarming bees will fill their stomachs with food and the hive will send out about 10,000 bees (about half the hive) with a queen within 10 minutes…..THE START OF THE HEROS JOURNEY!
I had the priviledge to see my hive swarm. You would have thought the hive was on fire and every bee needed to escape as fast as possible. Then you stand with 10,000 bees flying all around you and eventually they land on a tree limb with the queen in the middle. The queen is fed and kept warm while the forager bees start to look for a new home.
Timing is everything.
Will they find a home that is suitable?
Will the weather hold up and keep dry and warm for the swarm while the scout bees are searching?
Will people treat them with love and call a beekeeper for help to find them a home?
There are no guarantees! They only have enough food for a few days in their honey stomachs. They are going into the unknown with confidence that Nature will be abundant and provide a home for them. Scout bees look for a new home and report back to the swarm. The final decision of which home to start anew in is done in a democratic process. The forager bees all vote. Eventually only one hive is chosen and the swarm flies to that home to start anew.
SWARMS ARE GENTLE BEES.
All bees are gentle when treated with respect and love. But swarm bees are especially gentle. They have NO home to protect and are very vulnerable. Any inclement weather will kill the swarm. The biggest challenge they face is human fear of them.
Michael Thiele, founder of Gaia Bees, is a master of working with bees. Through his training, he has come to respect the physical needs, emotional needs, mental needs and spiritual needs of bees. Here is a video of him moving a swarm with his bare hands (not something for a novice to try):
Swarming bees are taking the HEROS JOURNEY! They are venturing into the unknown. This vulnerable stage is just the beginning of starting a new life, in a new environment….that can be many miles away from the old home.
We as humans have the choice to stay in the old COMFORTABLE, FAMILIAR home or to take the hero’s journey into the unknown. Perhaps all of Nature does this in their life cycles. I am just starting to see this clearly with the bees.