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Let’s Have a Picnic!

The other evening, around 6 pm, the cellphone rings and a fairly nervous fellow begins to explain that a mass of bees has created a nest under the picnic table at his work! Based on the initial description, I immediately thought ‘yellow jackets’ (and that’s not something I tangle with…)! But, as he went on to explain the scenario, it became clear that he had a swarm of bees under his picnic table… Weird, I thought. I am used to swarms hanging on branches or gutters, but under a picnic table?! His business was down in Colonial Heights, just to the south of my home outside of Richmond, Va, so I assured him that I would be down there in a little over an hour to take care of it.

Colonial Heights Honey Bee Swarm

From this guy’s tone, I could tell that a little over an hour was a little over an hour too long. But, there was nothing for it. I had Anne Katherine in my charge and I wasn’t about to take my daughter on a swarm call. That would be bad for both daughter and pop (once mum found out….) So, I waited for my relief (mum-in-law), placed a call to confirm that they were still there (Oh Yeah! They’re still here!) and off I went, arriving about 1.5 hours after the initial call.

And there, handing from the bottom of the picnic table, was a very nice swarm. In addition, several fairly nervous men were about, keeping their distance. I could tell what the problem was, as the picnic area was just outside of the main work entrance to the warehouse. Interestingly enough, the men all thought the bees were building wax and creating a new home. Of course, this got me to talking about bees and how they were not building a home, but ‘hanging out’ while the scouts found a new home for them, either in a tree or someone’s attic. They mentioned that the maintenance guy had offered to spray the bees with Raid, but they decided to try to save them instead! I owe the manager some honey for that one.

Hiving the swarm was pretty easy. The Deep body slid perfectly beneath the seats and under the mass. I got on one end, lifted the table about a foot off the ground and dropped it. The ball fell neatly (well, not THAT  neatly, but good enough) into the hive body and that was that. I waited around for about 45 minutes for the foragers to come home and off I went.

2 comments to Let’s Have a Picnic!

  • Exactly same scenario I had several years ago when a swarm landed under a picnic table at a county high school. Easy catch! Those are the best!

  • I’m chuckling at the thought of an unsuspecting family sitting down at the picnic table and wondering what the loud buzzing noise was!

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