We’ve been trying to use some our pre-baby-delivery nesting drive to get some work done at the farm. Some of the most useful space (and shade) we have is in two giant vehicle sheds. They’re full of some pretty amazing stuff, old chairs, glass lids for jars, random cow milking aparatus. You know, amazing stuff. There’s also a fairly diverse animal kingdom.
Some time on Monday, Rebecca and I went on an adventure through the shed. I found some tarps that I started to fold, but they felt strangely heavy so thinking I’d harassed a rat or such, we made a beeline out of there. Later that evening we all went in to start really cleaning up and that’s when we heard the buzzing. Not nice happy bee buzzing, but Laura shook up our house and we’re pissed right off buzzing. We finally figured out where they were, and since they were in the old hauling trailer we simply wheeled it out the door until we could get a chance to investigate.
Early the next morning, Ryan left to go to a shoot in the city, sweet toddler was sleeping, the farm was quiet and cool. I figured this was my chance. Coffee, camera, macro lens, light coloured clothing, I was ready. I waited patiently. To my relief I saw that they were bumblebees and therefore unlikely to sting if I kept my cool. It was lovely. I started trying to move the tarps out of the sun where the bees were sure to bake if they stayed trapped there all day. A gentle breeze and Bumblebees gently flying around me. Success! I had the traps on the ground and on the way to a shady spot when, Bam! Hazel the giant had let herself out and jumped right on top of them.
The chase was on. Hazel got stung on the mouth and proceeded to act like a maniac. I was chased. Bees in my hair, the whole bit. Running faster than a pregnant lady ever should. I bet it was all pretty hilarious. Operation bee rescue was getting sticky.
Last night we were able to clean up and check on them. They were working away to build a new colony, probably about 20 giant fuzzy bumblebees building away in a pile of insulation in the middle of an opening where everyone walks every day. After some reading (mostly Ashley English’s Keeping Bees, twitter and this useful British wild bee site) we decide the best thing to do was to wait until early morning, gently move them in to a cardboard box, and then deliver them a safe distance into the field. I once again headed out, coffee, camera, locked up dog. But they were gone. Something found them and ate the whole operation, leaving me a pile of waxy insulation and a guiltily conscience.
The only redeeming parts are all the pollination I have seen in the sweet peas this morning and that I have found the original colony, high up in the rafters of the shed, safely tucked away in a tire, and nobody is allowed near them.