Psalms from the Hive

by Jeannie Saum

If you don’t watch them

Pay attention to signs

They’ll get crowded

And head for the pines!

Clover, Bee, and Revery

Reverie (revery) –(n.) state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a fantastic, visionary, or impractical idea.

the swarm in the hazelnut tree
the swarm in the hazelnut tree

And that is just what they did! Only it wasn’t the pines, it was the hazelnut trees!  One day, while Steve was out mowing the front yard around the hives, he made a second pass beside the row of hazelnuts trees and saw something that wasn’t there 5 minutes ago – a huge cluster of bees hanging from a branch about 7 feet up in the air.  He ran in to get me and anyone else in the house who would come out to see.  We all trooped out to stand around and look up at it and wonder what to do.  Steve was convinced that as fast as it had formed, it had to have come from one of our hives – most likely the 8 frame that had made it through the winter.  Truth be told, we still hadn’t established a routine schedule of inspection and had been kind of lax.  I’m not sure we would have even know the signs of swarming at that point.  There’s just so much to learn and remember.

Steve was all excited and pumped up about capturing this swarm.  He realized it would mean another hive to add to the apiary!  But how to do it?  Sure, we had read about it briefly in books, but it wasn’t one of those details we’d remembered all about.  Don’t know it ’til ya need it!  So back  into the house we trooped, to look it up on the internet!

After reading some how-tos and watching a few You-Tube videos, we started gathering supplies – an extra hive box a make shift bottom and top board (since we didn’t have a 5th set yet) a cardboard box, a sheet, and a ladder. And of course, we called our partners in crime, the Dotsons, and they rushed over to share in the excitement!  Then out we trooped, again.

Steve was going to try the process we had learned about online.  He climbed the ladder with the cardboard box and I spread the sheet on the ground in front  of the hive box and sandwiched one edge of it between the bottom board and hive box, making a wide sheet-ramp.  We didn’t yet have a bee brush, so Steve used his gloved hand and tried to brush as many bees as he could, off the swarm and into the box.  They didn’t cooperate very well and got MAD.  Steve got about 1/3 of them into the box and gave up.  The swarm was still a ways above Steve’s head, making this more difficult. So, he got down and dumped the box of bees on to the sheet.

bees marching up the sheet to the hive
bees marching up the sheet to the hive

The bees used the sheet-ramp to march up to the hive box and go in.  We didn’t know if Steve had gotten the queen, but theoried that if the worker bees had found this great new home, they would go back and signal to the queen and she would leave the swarm and follow them to the hive.  This theory proved to be in error, because after leaving them alone for an hour, we went back out to find all the bees back up on the swarm in the tree!! Man, you give ’em a beautiful new mansion and they don’t even appreciate it!

On to Plan Two.  The only other choice, we decided, was to cut down the branch the swarm was on , and shake it into the new hive box, much like you do with a package of bees.  The only problem was that the swarm was 7 feet up a tall, thick branch.  So, we had to wait for our son to get home and come down with his chain saw.  This proved to be the trick!

the swarm all settled in their new home
the swarm all settled in their new home

Nate came down about an hour later and with three of us holding onto what proved to be a very heavy branch, he managed to cut through it.  We tapped it several times over the open hive box, and then propped it over the box for a while.  We must have gotten the queen into the box, because this worked! After about an hour, most of the bees were happily in their new home and we had an extra hive!  Pete and Laurie, our techie friends, got it all on video and had it posted on Facebook before we were even done!

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High  will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;  his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,  nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,   nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,  ten thousand at your right hand,   but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes  and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”  and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,  no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you  to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,  I will deliver him and honor him.

16 With long life I will satisfy him  and show him my salvation.”