Are you scared of bee swarms?
Do you ever think your house is too small for your family, and want to move to a larger home? Honeybees do the same thing! Some of our natural hives here at Brookgreen Gardens have decided to split up and move out! When I say natural hives, I am referring to the ones that are in hollow spaces inside of trees.
When bee colonies get overcrowded, it can become unhealthy for the bees. This causes some of the bees to fly out to look for a new place to live. The response of the worker bees to the decision to relocate is to put the queen on a diet. They feed her less so she will be able to fly. When she flies out of the hive, about half of the hive goes with her, wherever she lands. The worker bees protect her by surrounding her, while a bee scout goes off in search of another home. Therefore, you will see a big ball or group of bees all in one place. This is called a swarm of bees.
When the scout bee finds a new home, the bees will guide their queen to the new location and get her settled. The worker bees will then continue their work of raising a brood and gathering and storing food, which is honey. Yum!!
Meanwhile, back at the old hive, the workers that stayed behind raise a new queen. They then continue to gather pollen and nectar to raise new young bees and rebuild the colony.
Are bee swarms dangerous? No, they are usually docile at this time and can be observed from a safe distance. Of course, if you are allergic to bee stings, you should stay away from bees. When bees swarm, they don’t have a brood to protect or food to defend. So, at this time it is easy for an experienced beekeeper to collect the swarm to start a new hive. Brookgreen’s beekeeper, Tom Francis, recently gave some swarming bees a new home. He placed part of a new beehive containing their food (honey) underneath them. He then shook them off the branch and they fell into their new home. He left the hive there for a few hours so they would all get settled inside.
Swarms usually happen in the spring or early summer when the weather is warm. Bees are very smart: they always know the best time to go house hunting!
Make your own honeybee!
And here is a link to some other bee craft ideas! Bee Crafts from Feltmagnet.com