I celebrated release day by grocery shopping, cleaning house and capturing a swarm of bees in a horse coral to repopulate our be hive.
The bees were starting to swarm when we got there, so I gave the branch a sharp shake and the clump dropped into the cardboard box we brought. Hopefully there's a queen in there; we'll know in a few days. If not, we might be able to buy a queen from a local bee keeper.
It was pretty funny. We were driving down the road on the short trip to our hives and the bees were escaping the cardboard box in the trunk. Of course we were wearing bee suits, because no one wants to deal with bees while driving.
We got out of the car and my husband had a long walk across an uneven field carrying a box of escaping bees to the empty hive. The grass was tall, and predictably we were picking ticks off our bee suits when we were done.
We also had to use a shop vac to get all the leftover bees out of the car, because they didn't want to leave.
We were super excited to get the swarm, agreeing it was one of the best dates ever. Bees are in limited supply and only available in spring, costing about $100 per swarm, and that's not including hives and equipment. We also have three more empty hives, so if you live close to Spokane and have a loose swarm, we'd love to fill our hives.
Bees are necessary for fruit and many other crops and pesticides kill them by the millions. I love eating, so I'm happy to keep the population going when I can. Besides, honey from freshly crushed comb is ecstasy; we're addicted, and our friends say it's better than commercially spun honey. My husband grumbles when we have to buy commercial honey, says it's just not as tasty.
I can't prove it, but I think it's because they get to use the fresh, clean wax their body naturally produces to make storage cells, instead of gunky old wax left over from spun honey. Whatever the reason, yum!
That said, processing honey is a lot of work, and not everyone has the guts to work with bees. Commercial keepers work hard to keep their hives alive and food on our table. In honor of them, I think I'll celebrate with the big bag of cherries I just bought. Mmm, cherries...