I just had a lady with a small boy knocking on my door. She explained that she lives in the cul de sac around the corner from me and was worried that there might be a swarm in a large tree and people might get stung, especially children who play thereabouts.
We went to have a look. I know that there’s a lime tree not far away that is usually abuzz with bees when in flower but it wasn’t that one. The tree has large palmate shiny leaves and has been dropping seeds similar to those of the sycamore. After a little thought I came to the conclusion that it is a maple.
It was really noisy with various species. The first I saw was a hornet, but there were also lots of bumble bees of various shapes, sizes and colours. I could see no evidence of a nest there.
I reached up into the tree and plucked a leaf. I applied my tongue to it and immediately could taste sweetness. I plucked more leaves so the others could share the experience.
I assured the lady that there was no cause for alarm as the bees were only interested in feasting and not in attacking. I suggested placing a deck chair close by wherein she could chill and enjoy the midsummer hum.
It’s a grey and grizzly day today. I shall go back when we get some sunshine to see whether honey bees are also harvesting the sap.