Swarm season has begun! So keep an eye out on sunny days, typically between 10:00am and 3:00pm or so. If you see a cluster of bees on a branch or structure, don’t worry they won’t hurt you. But they do need to find a place to live. We’re out of town the first weeks of June, so call someone from the swarm list at Puget Sound Beekeepers Association: http://pugetsoundbees.org/swarm-list/ to come and collect the swarm. Their list is organized by region. We’ll be back in town June 19th and ready to collect swarms again.
What is a swarm? The bee swarm is the way a honeybee colony reproduces itself. When a colony is healthy and the spring increase is underway, often the old queen and about half of the bees leave the hive and set off to find a new home. They first fly out of the hive with great speed, then jet around the air for 15 minutes or so before landing somewhere nearby in a tight cluster. The queen is at the center of this cluster. Scouts are sent out to search for a new home, and hopefully, within a day or two they find one. Then the cluster breaks up and they all fly to the new home. If a suitable home is not found in 3-4 days, the swarm could starve to death or die of exposure.