I came home from work last night to find a little package on my front porch. It was from Mary the Beekeeper, who captured the swarm I found last week.
Inside, a nice little thank-you note and an unexpected finder's fee:
A jar of honey from Mary's hives, and two pieces of comb started by the very bees I saw "in the wild."
When you put bees in a new hive, you have to check on them a few times early on to make sure they are building their comb parallel to the frames. If they start building crosswise, you won't be able to get the honey out neatly; the combs will break off. These must have been a couple of false starts, which Mary removed.
Isn't that an amazing feat of engineering? Each cell perfect, designed to maximize the space. The bees form chains by hooking their legs together and dangling below the comb as they build, creating a natural plumb line. In the beebox I'm considering getting, you lay a line of beeswax along the top bars, so the bees have guide to get them started building in the right direction.
Yes, I'm moving closer to bees of my own. I sent Pascal the plans to see if he can build me a box. He emailed me today and said, "Sounds like fun!" He'll let me know more once he's looked at the plans closely.
(Click on the "Bees" tag below for photos of all my recent bee encounters.)