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  • Writer's pictureNona Spillers

Spring is Swarm Season !

This is the time of year when our bees are the busiest…when everything is in bloom (it’s called the flow)…the bees are out in force…so right now it’s even more important for folks to understand bee-havior! When food (pollen & nectar) is plentiful, colonies can explode in numbers. The bee solution to outgrowing a hive is to swarm – meaning they create a new queen and half the bees leave with the old queen to begin a new colony. Honey Bee Democracy is the encyclopedia on this subject. When these swarms are looking for a new home – too often they will land in a tree in someone’s yard or in a public place. Those who know, leave them bee…as they will move on to a place that is more appropriate. Those not aware too often will call a pest company or spray them themselves.

Here’s a pic of a swarm that landed on one of our swarm boxes (April 2019) !

The purpose of these boxes is to give bees a “safe” place to land. They provide the exact amount of space (40 Liters) that the scout bees (the real estate agents of the bee world) seek.

If you hear of anyone having a “bee problem” it’s likely a group of scouts looking for a new home. Don’t hesitate to refer them our way (or to a bee rescue group in their area). Often these native bees are among the most productive honey makers!

This is a swarm in our neighborhood. There is one particular intersection near a creek where bees tend to stop. This one was easy - on a tree branch about 15 feet high. The other two we've had at this intersection were cut outs that my husband did. The bees moved into the walls of rock homes - a much more difficult rescue!

This swarm moved to our Kingsbury yard where they thrived producing a wondrous amount of delicious honey. We choose to keep feral (hybrid colonies) because they have adapted well to our climate and (we think) produce the most fabulous honey!

This colony likes to get creative with their comb building earning them then name ARTIST COLONY!

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