Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The honeybees are back in the "Warnup Tree"

That's great news!  We have a nice old "black walnut tree" in our yard with a natural hollow in it about 20 feet up.  It's perfect for wild honeybees.  In fact we've had wild hives in that hollow for at least seven years.  About two times a spring, a swarm will leave the comfort of that tree with their new queen and look for a new home.  (I'm definitely not an expert on anything, particularly honeybee swarms, so go to this link, for some really fascinating reading.)
The pictures we took with our "point and shoot" camera do not show how
 truly magnificent this phenomenon truly is.
A queen and her workers always remain back in the hive year after year.  This fall and winter, we noticed no activity outside the hive and were a bit concerned.  We had no idea as to whether or not there were any bees left in the warnup tree.

This Easter Sunday, as I walked out of the packhouse, I noticed the familiar sound of the buzz that seems to echo across the yard.  I yelled out to Tim, and then we saw the cloud of bees across the yard.  It is amazing to see this phenomenom!  Seeing a few thousand bees leaving the tree with a new queen to start their own hive is quite a day at a living science museum.  Better still, we then noticed that the bees were not swarming to leave, but returning to the vacated tree!  About that time, Jonathan, Joy and the boys drove up just in time to see the bees going into their new home, the "warnup tree".   We are so excited to once again have a natural hive of bees in our yard, just feet away from our back door.

Since you're wondering why I keep calling the tree a "warnup" not "walnut" tree, it's because that's what Tim's late father called it.  Precious!  We always affectionately refer to it as that.  It's a cultural thing. You never correct your elders.