Later the same week, another swarm showed up on the same tree in Forestville. This time I brought my veil. When I climbed up on the ladder to shake the hive into my box, half the swarm landed on my shirt. And under it. I could feel the lovely heat of the mass against my skin and the tickle of clinging feet. I lift the edge of my shirt to provide a bridge to the entrance of the box. They strolled in, lining up at the entrance fanning their enthusiasm and (I hope) appreciation of the new home.
Then, as it seems to be true that the chickens do get tired of laying so productively after two years, we had to buy some new baby replacements:
Their heated brood box is just outside our bedroom so we can hear them cheeping all day and night. Flowers and life are blooming.
Dalziel (our cat) and Joey (husband) keep watch too.
It's a Where's Waldo kind of location, blending in with the tree, but a lovely foot plus in length and about 8 inches in diameter. They are a swarm from a wild hive in Forestville so they are already adapted to our home environment. We ride out there early and eager, set up our ladder under the swarm, no veils, and start pruning the branches. We are out of practice. The clump falls, the bees get mad, we get stung. Bees are crawling inside my clothes and up my cleavage. But we convince them that our box is a better home. We had to leave it there all day to let them move in, but judging from the eager bee butts in the air, that shouldn't be a problem. I just have to bring down the swelling on my eye. We'll remember how we do this next swarm