Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Catching a Swarm

Last week bee activity in the park was extremely high. Two separate swarms of honey bees were captured right outside the nature center.

Swarming is a means of reproduction for honey bee colonies. Swarming happens when a hive gets too crowded. A swarm consists of a queen bee and many workers. The swarm will leave their old hive and collect in a location close by. From this location the workers will ball up around the queen while scout bees look for a new hive.

In our case the swarm came from one of the hives in our apiary. The swarm flew from its hive box towards the trees outside the Hansen Nature Center. Soon bees filled the air. It only took a few minutes for the bees to ball up on a tree branch.

A tree outside the nature center containing the swarm

From there the bees were shook from the branch into a new hive box. Once the workers had checked the place out and the queen was inside, the box was moved over to the apiary. The workers could then be seen fanning the scent of the queen into the air to attract any stragglers from the swarm. Bees cover their new hive box

The new hive is moved to the apiary

Worker bees fanning the scent of their queen into the air

Thank you to volunteer bee keeper Damon Lincourt for his help in catching the swarms.

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