Friday, August 23, 2013

Pollinator Party

    Ever seen a swarm of bees?  Its a pretty exciting natural phenomenon.  When a hive gets to a certain large population, the queen decides its time to split (literally) and take about half the worker bees (all female) with her to a new place.  So when you see a huge bunch of bees as shown in the first pic below, somewhere in the middle of all that buzzing is a queen bee who is intent on finding a new home with her "split" of bees.   

As is typical for swarms of honey bees, this mass of bees is only temporary, usually less than a day.

The bee keeper will climb the ladder and clip the limb with the swarm.  Then gently place the swarm with the queen in a hive body.  Hopefully, the queen will like the new surroundings and stay there.
Swarming bees are actually quite docile and take handling very well.  While their attending their queen, they don't get too upset being placed in a hive body with frames to make their new digs attractive.

When bees first swarm, thousands will be seen in a giant swirling mass.  This is just before they congregate where the queen landed as seen in the first picture.  If you ever have the opportunity to see this natural spectacle, watch and enjoy it.  See where the mass of bees end up.  Then call your area bee keeper as they will likely want to get the bees for a new hive.  Keeping bees is becoming even more important as pollinators such as honey bees are experiencing serious declines.

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