It wa swarm today

We’ve got a bell fixed to the side of the corn crib, the intended purpose of which is to alert anyone at a distance that something is up back at the barns. Late this morning I was out in one of the pastures, doing fence work, when I heard the bell – so I came quickly. Joanna was yelling, at some considerable distance, “The bees are swarming.” I quickened my step. Sure enough one of the hives had swarmed and, lucky for us, traveled all of 20 feet to an obliging blueberry bush. [Joanna had intended to have a handful of blueberries as part of her lunch – upon reaching the garden, she decided otherwise.] We got hold of an empty hive body, smoked the swarm a bit, counted to three, and gave the bush a good shake which dislodged most of the bees into the waiting box. We crossed our fingers and hoped that the swarm would approve its new digs. The image on the right was taken several hours later and shows a confident beekeeper with her new hive, quite happily settled in (and down).

6 thoughts on “It wa swarm today

  1. So interesting! Does that mean that now you have an additional hive? Are beekeepers supposed to do something to prevent swarming, or is it just a natural part of raising bees??

    1. [I hate touchpads … this is my FOURTH attempt at this reply. I keep hitting something which sends these into the vapors!] One can anticipate swarms by doing regular hive inspections and looking for dramatic increases in population density. Also, before swarms develop queen cells are constructed. The embryos in these are fed copious quantities of Royal Jelly and … presto-chango … a queen emerges. The new queen then swarms with some portion of the hive. We checked a couple of weeks ago and there were no indications that anything was amiss. Anyway, this worked well for us. The swarm was very well behaved and, yes, now we have three hives. It is lucky that this one came to us so early – it should have plenty of time to build up numbers and stores to overwinter. Thanks for asking!

    1. LyndaMichele – thanks for your comment and question. I’m always hesitant to go on about the ‘why’ behind certain posts. I’m afraid of turning off the reader with too much detail. But your question is a good one and has been, the answer to which has been much studied. The hive is very much in tune with what’s going on inside. When living conditions become too crowded the workers rear a new queen who will depart (swarm) with some portion of the hive community. What’s really interesting is how the swarm knows how and where to establish a new hive. It turns out that the swarming bees actually make a thoughtful, collective, decision (a real decision with back and forth ‘discussion’) about possible new places to move and which is best. In our case we simply made an offer the swarm could not turn down. [Actually, that’s not true – the swarm can indeed decide to leave the hive box we’ve provided, if it so chooses.] Bees are really, really cool animals. Isn’t nature amazing? Thanks for asking, commenting, and checking in to see what’s going on at Pairodox. Dave

      1. That is amazing, I never knew any of that! I love the ‘whys’, and I’ve always been interested in those honey bees! Thank you for answereing my question!

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