I walked down to get the mail the other day and as I got back over the cattle stop I saw a large cloud of insects, I could see they were larger than midges but they were an orangey gold colour which rather threw me.
As I watched, they swirled their way up to a small kowhai tree above the bank and joined a triangular mass hanging from one of the branches, a long cone of moving bees.
Panic, I thought, I don’t want those bees moving into the house, so I ran and shut the doors and windows and then remembered that Phil was a bee keeper and not far away, I ran down the farm and found him on the motor bike, and asked him what to do, he said he would come and have a look, which he did, and told me that they were swarming, the queen bee would be in the middle of the bees and they weren’t aggressive when they were in swarming mode. All good news.
The scout bees were probably out looking for a new place to set up home and this was a resting place on the way.
The orange golden colour I had noticed as they were flying around was because they were full of honey, a sort of backpack to keep them going on their journey.
They might be on the move for several weeks and had their food with them to sustain them on their hunt for a new home. Fascinating !
Phil asked would I mind if he put them into a box when it was dusk and he would take them to his father who was setting up some hives.
We watched that evening as Phil donned his bee keeping suit, plus hat, but no gloves I noticed. Phil shook the cone which was about a metre long into the open box and then kept shaking the branch of the tree so that the remaining bees would follow. Once the queen is in the box the others will follow her.
Phil told us by taking the bees to his house they would get disorientated and they would settle more easily into their new home on the edge of Lake Waikare so if you see any wandering bees flying around Te Kauwhata or Waerenga send them home!