The Bloom Report and the tale of the homeless bees

Posted on May 7, 2009


Apricots in full bloom

I was passing by King’s and stopped to update the Apricot Bloom Report. In just a few days we had progressed from one little tree in the orchard behind Jim and Rose’s on US-31 to rows and rows of flowery finery south of the market on M-88. As I framed a shot I saw a man hurrying toward me. “Wanna see something really cool?” he asked. Well, um, yes.

I trotted after him through the rows. “There,” he said, pointing. “It looked like a heart shape a little while ago.” And there it was. The biggest swarm of bees I’ve ever seen.

Spring swarm looking for a home

My guide, who turned out to be installing an electric fence to keep Daisy the orchard mascot from straying into the road, was a font of information.  He said the bees had left their overpopulated hive in search of a new home. They were clustered around their queen, and scouts were flying out of the swarm in every direction, presumably accompanied by Realtor bees pointing out the advantages of the hollow tree with the view of the Bay or the rafters an easy commute to the blossoms.  OK, he didn’t say that last part. 

This is all very complicated and I believe I can do no better than to refer you to the Capital Area Honeybee Stewards website and to the Wikipedia article on Swarming.  In the event that the colony decides to settle nearby, the Kings are prepared to offer employment opportunities.


John King says it looks like a good year for fruit farmers.  A spell of 70-degree weather in February or March might sound like fun, but it ruins fruit production.  This cool spring has been just the ticket.  The apricots are in full bloom now.  Casey Lapeer, who keeps on top of these matters at King’s, predicts the dark sweet cherries will bloom in 3-4 days.  Then the tart Montmorencys, the peaches, the apples last of all.  Somewhere in there pears and nectarines will join the fun.  I’m determined to document the whole thing this year.  Stay tuned.

OK, one more picture of apricot blossoms.  Once it finally starts you can never get enough spring.


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