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Saturday, May 26, 2007


A huge swarm of bees took up residence this afternoon on the dogwood tree in the parking strip just outside Blog Central. Hundreds of 'em, maybe 18 or 20 feet up. The Mrs. called a bee expert, who says they're not hornets or yellowjackets. According to this gal, they could stay an hour, or 24 hours, but most likely they're looking for a structure in the neighborhood in which to set up a more permanent shop. She also said that professional beekeepers might want them, if they can get up high enough on the tree to reach them. Anybody out there interested?

UPDATE, 4:10 p.m.: A nice beekeeper guy is here to take our new buddies off our hands. They're honeybees -- around 7,000 of them. It's his second such stop of the day.

UPDATE, 5:39 p.m.: It was a pretty straightforward job. The guy just climbed on up and physically knocked bunches of bees into a bucket. Many of them stayed in there as he climbed down and deposited them into a hive box on the tailgate of his big old pickup. He got the queen in there on the first swipe, which made matters easier. Once she was in the box, the thousands that he dumped in that general direction all flew in after her. "They smell her," he explained. "That's all they care about right now."

Here's the setup with the box on the pickup. There's a little bunch swarming on the tailgate there, right in front of the box. Eventually, they hopped in voluntarily, to be with their queen. Note that I took this shot through a tightly closed window:

After he had thinned out the swarm on the tree a bit, he actually hauled the whole box up there and swept many more in:

Within an hour, the whole crew was en route to its new home out Division Street quite a ways. Bon voyage, guys!

Comments (15)

good shots-thanks! And a honey of a story,,,heheheh We have a lot of wild honey bees where we live-but they aren't causing any problem at this time....they're happy.

Swarm of Bees Turns Back British Plane

A thick cloud of bees was sucked into the engine of a passenger plane en route to Portugal, forcing the airline to abandon the trip and grounding passengers for 11 hours, a company executive said Saturday. ...

Once upon a time shortly after our daughter was born, and named, (which had a lingering 'variance' in points of view, regarding 'naming'), I glanced out the window and saw a basketball-sized swarm of a yellowish buzzing fuzzball, literally coming up the driveway, 'fuzzing' about 2 meters in the air. I knew it instantly. I called a beekeeper in nearby Lake Oswego, who happily came and got the hive. He stunned them with smoke, a fumigant, and said burn only apple wood for that.

So I tried to re-open the discussion of naming number one daughter, to be Ambrosia, taken from a John Barth short story, 'Ambrose His Mark,' featuring a baby in a crib whose face gets covered with a swarm of bees, and has a honey-colored birthmark then, and so-named Ambrose. Number one wife wasn't re-opening nothing, regarding daughter, and besides, never read John Barth.

Did the beekeeper actually do this work in a short sleeved shirt? Amazing!

He got stung a few times. Shrugged it off. Picked out a stinger or two with a pen knife!

I might add that he is an enormously patient and cheerful man who moves slowly and surely, on a certain wavelength that I'll never know.

We saw a swarm of bees at SE Powell and 39th today about 4 pm. It was pretty bizarre but more strange to hear your story. Thanks for resolving the swarm with a beekeeper...honey bees need to be protected these days!

It just occurred to me: I probably needed at least one city permit to do this. Anyone know?

It looks to me like you'd need a permit to keep them (as a "Specified Animal Facility"), but not to sweep them.

We have a large honeybee nest in a half-dead cedar in our backyard. They have swarmed three times so far this spring - which means the hive sent out three new queens. Good news for the flowers and fruit trees in our neighborhood.

With the alarming news of Bees disappearing by the hundred of thousands this, indeed, is good news. It's not the honey that's important but the pollination. Of course everyone is lucky they weren't Killer Bees. LOL

The bees all figured it out and moved to Portland.

I'm glad the solution didn't involve chemical pesticides.

Years ago when I was a newspaper reporter in Scottsdale, AZ, a queen bee decided to alight upon the rear view mirror of a sporty and hugely expensive car parked downtown. Of course, the rest of the bees swarmed around her, creating quite a commotion in the street.

Finally this old guy in a pickup pulled up, got out and went over to the car where the queen was setting up shop. He lit a cigar and started puffing on it and blowing smoke at the bees, which allowed him to clear a path to the queen. After a few minutes, he'd opened up a path and snatched the queen gently and deposited her on a bucket, just as Jack described. The rest of the bees followed the queen into the bucket and then into the truck and he took off. Don't know where he went and don't know what possessed a queen by to try to make a hive on a rearview mirror.

Glad we got bees here.

Lovely story!

It's swarm season in Oregon, that's for sure.

I'm glad you called a beekeeper. It's an easy job for them, the bees are cared for properly.

You only need a permit for 5 or more hives. This is issued by the Agriculture Dept. in Oregon.

Bees are at their gentlest when swarming. They are replete with honey and quite calm. At a bee day in Colton OR, we were lucky enough to have a swarm hanging off a tree, and we put our arms in it all the way up to the armpits. It was a gentle tickling. Lovely experience!

Hats off to all commercial beekeepers. That is some HARD work.

Best to all,

"Bees are at their gentlest when swarming. They are replete with honey and quite calm. At a bee day in Colton OR, we were lucky enough to have a swarm hanging off a tree, and we put our arms in it all the way up to the armpits. It was a gentle tickling. Lovely experience!"

I love how much I learn reading this blog!

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