Some people have guard dogs. Maybe a really big guard snake or a ferocious guard cat. We do have a dog. He’s not very intimidating though.
No. We have guard bees.
We had a big, aggressive swarm in a box right next to the house for about a year. Then they packed up and left without notice, leaving us vulnerable to attackers. Not long after though, a new swarm moved in, even cleaned out the mess the old swarm left behind. We left a second box out in case a homeless swarm happened to be in the neighborhood and sure enough, it too was soon inhabited. Again we are fully protected.
Our bees fly about during the day, picking up nectar and water. It is not unusual for us to cross paths as we do our daily chores. But yesterday in the laundry room, there were a bunch of bees flying around, totally out of character. They never use the washing machine. They have no reason to be in there. They seemed lost.
Luckily, Jay is smarter than me. He realized it was a new swarm looking for a home. So he put out a couple of boxes and we let them be.
An hour later we were sitting on the kitchen floor, quietly reading the instructions for the new energy-saving fridge. A small murmur wafted through from outside. I dismissed it as a foraging chicken. Jay shouted “There!”, jumped to his feet, scared the crap out of me, and ran outside.
A smart man he is. The laundry room bees had found the new box, went back for the whole clan and were moving in. I’ve never seen a swarm move in before and this was a big one. It started slow; a few leaders scrounged their way inside the box. Then more landed, more flew in, more showed up. Soon the box was literally dripping bees and the rest were in a buzzing whirlwind around us. We were surrounded. The chickens and the dog ran for cover. Jay ran for the camera.
After a mad rush into their small front door, they were all inside. The whole thing took less than ten minutes.
At sunset, all was quiet, you wouldn’t even know a massive swarm was in that box.
Beware the guard bees.