This fond memory came from one of our customers who grew up on a farm in northern Minnesota.
The young boy and his Dad were out in the field one fine spring day when they came upon a tree with a honeybee swarm high up on a limb. His Dad promptly went for a ladder and climbed up to saw off the branch. Watching with nervous curiosity to see what would happen next, his Dad tied a rope to the end of it, sawed it off and carefully lowered it down. Grabbing the branch, his Dad handed the end to his son and told him to take it to the bee box nearby. Scared but obedient, he took the limb and walked it to the box. His Dad then said, “Shake it gently on top of the box.” And so he did. Immediately and to his surprise, all the bees flew into the hive!
Do you know why? All of the bees in the colony followed the queen; she knew where she needed to go. The queen puts out a pheromone (chemical secretion) that communicates to the others her movements, and they loyally follow her.
Our customer learned that, if you are careful around them and do not put the bees in a defensive position, bee swarms are not to be feared. To this day, he realizes what an amazing, rare experience he shared with his Dad.