Aw, man. First lesson in swarming.
My girls swarmed on Easter Sunday!
I was a little sad and a little fascinated when it happened. I heard the noise first then saw the swarm in the top of a tall pine in our backyard. I was sure they were mine. I called the family outside and we stood and watched until they flew off. Bon voyage! I just opened the hive for the first time this morning to confirm what I already knew and it was true. My population was way down and I don't have any babies. There was a big queen cell at the bottom of a frame though.
This is the beginning of my second season and I am still learning despite having read lots of books on beekeeping. Nothing like practical experience to reinforce information!
Reflecting on the swarm is also just an excuse to write to say how much I love beekeeping. The whole thing has been a great experience, an opportunity to learn, and a chance to be amazed at nature in my own yard with very little effort on my part. I read so many posts on this forum asking how to attract bees or wondering where they are and every time I want to pipe up with "Keep a hive!" It's so easy.
Anyway, now I will really take note of those swarm cells and feel something more than awe when I open my hive in early spring to find a huge bustling population and tons of honey production going on. I'll be ready next time!