This has been the most remarkable spring but the arrival of a swarm of bees was as unexpected as it was spectacular. On Sunday we heard loud buzzing from our front garden and spent the next hour watching the process of hundreds of bees settling in our Brazilian Pepper Tree. What began as a few bees over the next hour became a mass all huddling together to protect the queen. By evening the swarm had settled in and become calm as the temperature cooled and their rest time commenced.
While we knew that the Queen was at the center of this colony, we did not fully understand why this event had occurred so turned to the internet. The queen increases the size of the colony by laying eggs that become worker bees and so the colony grows until it eventually it out-grows the hive at which point the queen lays a few queen eggs. The queen then leaves the hive before the new queen bee hatches and takes with her about half of the worker bees to journey onwards to begin a new hive. We were lucky spectators at the point where the queen and her followers had set out in search of a suitable location for their new home and had decided to rest over-night in our tree. At no point did the swarm pose any threat to us as we passively looked on from a safe distance remaining still save for the photos we took.
The following morning the queen and her entourage waited to be warmed by the sun before continuing on their quest.
I was inspired by the sight of these live bees to create a playful collage using our polished bee door knob with a back-drop of dark honeycomb roses which is the most well-known handle set from our Netsuke collection of animal door handles.