Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today's Bee Swarming Action

Today my honeybees finally decided to swarm. See if you can find them in the picture above. They're in one of the trees.

They're that giant brown pine cone looking thing in the middle there. Honeybee hives divide each year as a way of reproduction. A new queen takes over the work of her mother at the original nest site, while the original queen and about 40% to 60% of the bees take flight to setup shop elsewhere.

Often they land somewhere near the hive to start out. This tree is in our yard. While there scouts explore the neighborhood looking for someplace to setup. If they don't find what they're looking for then they'll eventually just move where they're hanging out.

And sure enough that's what happened. They took to the sky, and I ran to my car grabbing my camera along the way to film an episode of Swarm Chasers, soon to be complete with the theme of Police Squad blaring in the back.

Naturally they landed only 2 blocks away and will keep this patter up of swarming from one tree/bush to another until a suitable home is found. They're still to high up for me to get, and the home owner said he'd rather not let me rile them up. He said he's allergic which I tend to believe, though most people make it up. That's fine with me, I still have a hive and split I'm nurturing into a productive state. I told him they'll likely fly off early tomorrow morning so there's no need to spray them or anything like that, I left him my name and number, told him where I live, and drove off.

Sometimes you just have to let it fly. 


  1. Thanks for this good swarm story. Even though I only had my bees for 13 months, I did get to see them swarm and I'm so glad I did. It's really a great sight and event. I belong to a bee association and they spend so much time talking about preventing swarms, as do many books, that I was in great fear of it. But then it happened and my fear was gone because it was so beautiful and interesting. Unfortunately, it looks like my hive didn't naturally requeen, but such is bee life.

    And this line really made me laugh:
    "He said he's allergic which I tend to believe, though most people make it up." During my year-plus of beekeeping, nearly everyone I talked to said they couldn't be around them because they were allergic and could/would die if stung. Amazing how the "bee allergy" story has spread so far.

  2. Hehe, yeah. I think a lot of the allergy claims are driven simply by a fear of getting stung. I know if anyone gets stung on the upper part of their face they will swell up worse than the hunchback of Notre Dame. This is quite normal even for people who aren't allergic. My dad got stung there once and went around telling everyone that mom had punched him.