Neighborhood buzz

Friday, April 25, 2008

Last Friday, for the third time in a week, a swarm of bees formed on the flowering tree in the front yard of a house on Montclair Street in Lewisburg. The first time it happened, homeowners Benny and Brenda Matthews called the Extension Office and got the names of three bee-keepers in the area. The ones they ended up getting were David and Judy Haynes, of Haynes Honey Farm on Wade Brown Road. Above right, David sprays sugar water on the swarm. This calms the bees down and makes them easy to handle. The Hayneses say they have never removed three swarms from the same tree. They think the bees must be coming from a big hardwood tree in the Matthews' back yard. David brushes the bees carefully into a bucket. He wears long sleeves, plus a hat and veil, but is resigned to getting a few stings. Judy tries to avoid situations where she might get stung.

At right, Judy shows the bees they have caught. They will take them back to the farm and put them in one of their empty hive boxes. If there is a queen among them, the bees will likely stay and start producing honey. The bees now safely covered, Judy poses with Brenda, top right. For the trip home in the back of Judy's SUV, the bucket was covered by a net, not a lid, so that the bees could get air. A few bees who didn't go in the bucket were buzzing unhappily around the yard, so it was time to get out of the way and leave them in peace for a while.