Welcome to The Pauley Principle!

The Pauli Principle, named for Wolfgang Pauli, deals with atoms and electron-sharing that results in new, stronger bonds. Think 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen, a shared delectable (!) electron and VOILA! Water!

Similarly, when you prepare whole food to share with family and friends, especially foods you've grown, something amazing happens. Meals become tastier and healthier. Your soul, not just your stomach, becomes fulfilled. You live life more abundantly as a result. During a shared meal, the bonds that people create grow stronger and become something new: GREATER than the sum of the parts! I give you The Pauley Principle.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gathering the Swarming Honeybees

In the spring, honeybees swarm as a colony of bees splits to make more room for the ones that stay in the hive. Around here, those that venture out of their old home to find a new one are good news for my friend Desiree. It helps her build her apiary!

Friends and neighbors watch for swarming bees. A quick phone call to Desiree and she flies into action, making plans to go to the rescue, a mission that has to happen within a time frame of 1 to 24 hours. After that, the workers who are out scouting for a new home will have shown the others in the swarm the way, and they'll be gone.

Look closely at this photo of a tree. At first glance you might think you see a hornet or squirrel nest in the center of the photo. It's actually swarming honeybees.

"A swarm is a big ball of bees, piled on top of each other," Desiree says. "When it's in a tree, the bees are all huddled together. We catch them and put them in our hive box, our super. If you can get the queen in, the rest will follow."

Usually, when there's a swarm of bees splitting away, and not an entire colony, the honeybees take a queen cell with them, an egg the queen has laid. The diet that is given to this bee larva determines what the bee will grow into, so when the workers are grooming a bee to become the new queen bee, she gets a unique queenly diet, "royal jelly"! Pretty cool!
Desiree says, "They only sting you when they feel threatened. When one stings, the pheromone (smell) will attract the others and they'll come after you. So, if you get stung once, it's best to leave."

The next day or later the same day, after the bees are settled in the super, Desiree takes them home to her beekeeping operation, Klover Hill Apiary, where she plans to build her bee numbers and continue trying new bee products, expanding from honey and lip balm into candles and soaps.
 I asked  Desiree where a person is most likely to find swarming bees. She says they can be in homes, barns, trees and mostly, around here, they seem to like lilac bushes. Since we have three large old lilac bushes at the farm, I invited her to investigate for swarming bees. None. Then we went to the barn, another place they might gather. Again, none, but that was a cool, rainy day. 

Apparently, honeybees like hot days because Desiree says she usually gets pretty sweaty when she has to put on all her gear to go after them! The last time she went to gather bees, it started pouring the rain, so she plugged the box, strapped it, and then heaved it into the bed of her pickup, getting hot, sweaty, and soaking wet! Then, when her son ended up getting a bee sting, she wondered why she ever decided to keep bees.

Like anything worth doing, if it were easy, wouldn't everyone be doing it? From talking to Desiree and seeing her photos, I know she loves the adventure of finding and retrieving swarming bees and she is dedicated to helping the planet. She will do this for many years to come. Thank goodness! Maybe she can help to increase the declining numbers of honeybees! 

The photos in this post are courtesy of Desiree Blaha-Poyner. To see more of her photos, you can Facebook "friend" her.


  1. It's all so interesting but something I could never do. That swarm in the tree gives me the heebie jeebies!

    1. I thoroughly understand the bees heebie jeebies, Jill!

  2. The swarms in the trees freak me out too, but I would like to have bees!

    1. I hope you'll try it, Lisa! Like my friend Desiree, you would find things to do with bee products.