Swarm of Honey Bee's

SKNickel

Roseburg, United States

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This is a swarm of honey bee’s that I discovered in my pasture in an old pear tree. Roseburg, OR. green dist. Douglas county USA
It was the third one I had seen with in just a few weeks time.
Canon eos digital rebel
300 zoom lens

Swarming is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies (considering the colony as the organism rather than individual bees which cannot survive alone), including the domesticated Western honey bee. In the process two or more colonies are created in place of the original single colony. It is considered good practice in beekeeping to reduce swarming as much as possible by several techniques, as allowing this form of reproduction often results in the loss of the more vigorous division, and the remaining colony being so depleted that it is unproductive for the season. Beekeepers control reproduction by making nucs (nucleus or starter colonies) or by shaking package bees (usually for sale) from hives in the spring prior to the natural swarm time.

New honey bee colonies are formed when queen bees leave the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. The first or prime swarm generally goes with the old queen. As soon as the swarm is established as a new colony, the bees raise a new queen, or sometimes a replacement virgin queen is already present in the swarm. Afterswarms are usually smaller and are accompanied by one or more virgin queens. Sometimes a beehive will swarm in succession until it is almost totally depleted of workers.

Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, usually within a two- or three-week period, the usual period depending on the locale. But occasional swarms can happen throughout the producing season. Old fashioned laissez-faire beekeeping depended upon the capture of swarms to replenish beekeeper colonies and early swarms were especially valued. An old English ditty says:

A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July isn’t worth a fly.

A beekeeper collecting a bee swarm.Swarms of bees sometimes frighten people, though they are usually not aggressive at this stage of their life cycle. This is principally due to the swarming bees’ lack of a hive to defend and are more interested in finding a new nesting point for their queen. This does not mean that bee swarms will not attack if they perceive a threat; however, most bees only attack in response to intrusions against their hive. Most swarms will move on and find a suitable nesting location in a day or two. Beekeepers are sometimes called to capture swarms that are cast by feral honey bees or from the hives

Artwork Comments

  • babybird1937
  • Arla M. Ruggles
  • SKNickel
  • Trina King
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  • MotherNature
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