New Orleans has gotten a lot of rain in the past two weeks. Between hurricane Alex bands and the regular wet summer weather, I have not been able to open up LaDonna and see how she is doing, but I do know two things:
1. There are a lot more bees coming in and out of LaDonna’s hive compared to last week.
2. I have seen two orientation flights (which looks like a cloud of bees flying around the front of the hive), so I know there are new bees hatching and Queen LaDonna must be laying eggs.
Hope to go and see her this weekend.
Yesterday, after a long day of steady rain, I noticed both LaDonna and Delilah clumping out on the stoop. It was really more than just clumping, they were hanging on to each other and making a long interconnected chain of bees that was about 3 inches long and six inches wide off the end of the stoop and almost completely covering the front of the hive body (picture is a little after the most dramatic bearding episode).
I wasn’t really in a panic, but I called Jeff, my bee mentor, to ask what was up. Jeff said, not to worry, the bees were BEARDING. He calmed my concern that they were trying to swarm and explained that they were just HOT.
This made all the sense in the world to me, I was hot too, and since it had been raining all day, they were probably trapped in their non-air-conditioned hive all packed in with all their sisters (more bees than usual since no one could leave the hive because of the rain). I think that would make me get the hell out of there as soon as it stopped raining too. I was happy to see that even LaDonna was bearding a bit. Just when you think your bees have gone nuttso, you learn something new. Bees are so rational, I love that.