Bee Swarm Facts
You will never forget the first time you see a honey bee swarm. It is a thrilling sight. Thousands of bees in flight, the mass moves through the air heading for a new home. Honey bee swarming is an amazing natural event in the life of bees. They certainly are a cause for excitement because it is obvious that the bees are up to something wonderful.
Honey bee swarms are a natural behavior of bee colonies. In most instances, they pose no danger to the public.
Most likely to happen in the Spring, swarms can be seen at any time during the warm season.
One thing is certain, a swarm of bees in flight or hanging in a mass on a bush will create a buzz in any humans in the vicinity.
FAQS about Honey Bee Swarms
First of all, honey bee swarms are the most natural things in the world. This is a common activity that happens anywhere you find honey bee colonies.
When a colony swarms, about half of the bee population leaves to make a new hive in another location.
The mother hive retains enough worker bees to continue the work of the original colony and to make a new queen bee.
This is a natural part of bee colony growth. Colonies that swarm are generally healthy bees just doing their “bee thing”.
Honey bee colonies swarm, in order to reproduce on the colony level.
Where there was 1 large colony, now there are 2 smaller colonies.
By traveling a distance away from the mother hive, the bees are able to spread out over a larger region. This allows for less competition for food and other resources.
No, in general honey bee swarms are very docile.
The bees do not have any stored food or baby bees to guard. There are in a transition phase with all of their thoughts on getting to their new home.
That does not mean that a honey bee swarm will fail to protect itself. If you see a swarm, observe them from a respectful distance.
Do not allow children to play too close or throw rocks or sticks at the bees.
In most cases, the swarm will leave for their new home by the next day. If they do not, it is time to call a local beekeeper.
If you see a swarm of bees, remain a respectful distance away from them. They are not prone to attack you unless you both them.
In most cases the bees will move on in a few hours or the next day. If the bees remain in place, do not try to kill them.
Call a local agricultural office or local beekeeping club – some beekeeper would love to come collect the bees.
When you see a large clump of bees hanging in a tree. This is a temporary transition spot.
If the bees can agree, they will soon move on to their new home.
When a swarm is resting in a transition spot they usually move on to their new hive location rather quickly.
Some swarms will leave in an hour or two while a few will linger until the next day. A swarm that stays more than 2 days is having a difficult time agreeing where to go. It might be time to call a beekeeper.
Honey bees can swarm during any of the warmer months. However, you will see the most swarms during Spring.
Spring is a time of growth for the honey bee colony. Their focus is on building a large work force that will be able to make and store a lot of honey for Winter.
During this time of plentiful food, the colony may decide to divide and create a new hive.
This term actually refers to queen cells that are found inside a beehive. The appearance of many queen cells tells the beekeeper that the colony is preparing to cast a swarm.
Colonies that swarm produce less excess honey. It’s hard to see half of our bees fly away for parts unknown.
Beekeepers invest a lot of time into techniques to reduce or prevent swarming. Do they work? Sometimes…
But often, the colony will swarm anyway. Then, we hope the original hive will be able to make a new queen from queen cells left behind.
This seemingly reckless behavior by honey bees has worked well for millions of years. Still, we beekeepers go to great lengths to prevent swarming.
And we want to build swarm traps to catch any swarms that happen.
Basically, no. A swarm would serve no purpose with having a queen. However, the swarm may contain a virgin queen who has not mated yet.
That’s an easy one – run. A true swarm of honey bees is very unlikely to attack anyone unless they have been provoked.
However, if you are ever in a situation where a swarm of honey bees decides you need to go – go.
Walk away quickly and get to an interior space – inside a house or even in a car. It is better to be in the car with 10 bees than outside with 10,000.
Final Thoughts on the Honey Bee Swarm
Learning how to deal with honey bees involves understanding their natural tendencies. This is the true art of beekeeping.
If you are lucky enough to see a natural honey bee swarm, enjoy the view. It is a wonderful natural process of our bees.
Many beekeepers place several honey bee swarm traps out in hopes of having 1 in the perfect location to catch bees.