Tag Archives: Swarm

Swarm 2

I came home from work the other day with the intention on tightening up a sink drain that had developed a small leak. I went out the back of the house and in through the rear door of the garage where my toolbox is and was surprised by a significant humming sound. In did not take long to realize that I was surrounded by curious honeybees who seemed to be checking me out in a friendly matter. I became rather concerned that in my absence from the garage for a couple of days, while we were receiving our much needed rain, that my little friends had set up housekeeping inside my garage.

This concerned me greatly because at our previous house a colony of bees had set up residence in an irrigation control box beside our orange tree and proved to be quite aggressive about intruders. I had attempted to deal with the problem myself with no luck and then called upon a professional bee handler to remove the colony. I was dismayed to learn that we were in an Africanized Bee zone and the bees could not be relocated but had to be destroyed.

There are as yet no lights in my garage so with flashlight in hand I began exploring the garage to see where the bees were congregated. I could not see any evidence of a hive but they seemed to be coming and going from a dark location above centered above the main garage door. I foolishly decided that I needed something for self-defense and drove over to Dollar General for a can of the Wasp and Hornet Spray. I returned home and sat down at the Internet to read up on honey bees where I learned I shouldn’t try anything myself and that a swarm could hold upwards of 30,000 bees in a ball that looks something like a football. I also read that as long as they did not have a hive to defend they would remain unaggressive, which gave me some relief.

I opened that main garage door, which has significant gaps for entry, and went on inside and studied my little friends who now seemed to be disturbed greatly by the open doors front and back. They continued to swarm around me in numbers of perhaps 10 to 20 without any signs of aggression. I decided that the garage had been cluttered long enough with tools not put away and various construction materials lying here and there so I turned on the radio and went to work under the constant supervision of my guests. After perhaps two hours I turned the shop vacuum on to suck up the debris from the concrete floor with the bees still hanging around. Then, after about another hour the brain behind the swarm must have decided my garage was not a decent place to rest or live and the entire swarm left.

20160517-Angry HostWell, I have fruit trees and a vegetable garden and I do appreciate the service that they provide but sometimes one does have to assume the role of an ungrateful host and send your unwelcome guests packing. I am just thankful that no one was injured in the process.

Swarm

I have been working on our fixer-upper home for six-months and have run into several challenges along the way, all unexpected developments. The last hurdle was something you might call ordinary but it certainly surprised me. On Thursday afternoon, just over a week ago, I arrived at the property to put on some finishing touches before the final move from the mobile into what was to be our new home and was surprised by a cloud swirling about the garage door. I left my car and walked closer to discover that the cloud was a swarm of termites and many were crawling into the garage through the multitude of gaps available.

Well, I quickly unlocked and threw open the overhead door, grabbed for my gallon container of insect poison, began spraying, and did not stop until I had the upper-hand. While inspecting the carnage I discovered dozens of pairs of discarded wings next to the wooden lathe stand and became worried. The lathe had been my younger brothers and when my older brother brought it to me I noticed and he confirmed that it had once had a termite infestation. The previous infestation meant that there were already openings and tunnels in and throughout the 4×4’s that comprised the main structure.

Because of the weight of the stand and the lathe itself I was unable to move it and had to wait for the arrival of my wife. Between her and I we unbolted the lathe and lifted it to the floor and then rolled the wooden stand into the front yard where I cut it into pieces with my sawzall and loaded the debris into the garbage can.

As I inspected the unfinished garage for more of the tiny denizens I realized that the wooden stand likely acted as a lure that had enticed the insects with a ready made development and prevented their settlement elsewhere. And for that, I was grateful.

Swarming in nature is a common occurrence and not just for insects. Birds swarm, fish swarm, and sometimes even people swarm. Lately, I have realized that there are swarms I never thought about before as, for example; the swarm of tragedies that has beset our family of the past year culminating in the unexpected death of my mother last week. Or yet again the swarm of nightmares that awakened me in terror no fewer than seven times this past Sunday night while on an overnight campout with the grandkids and family.

There have been swarms; termites, tragedies, and nightmares but now that our home has been made ready and we are finally moved in I am hoping for some completely different swarming. Even though there is much more to be done with our new home, like finishing the garage for one, I am expecting more swarms, but of a more pleasing nature. Swarms of writing, composing, piano, guitar, woodworking, and who knows, maybe I’ll even get my sketchpad out of mothballs, work on my stamp collection, or maybe even do some modeling.

May your own swarms be always filled with joy.