Spring is bee swarming season! You may have spotted a swarm in your area. If not, you still have a chance to spot this amazing phenomenon. Honey bees can still swarm in the summer and fall. However, bees normally will swarm in the springtime. What causes this mass migration? It’s all a part of normal honey bee behavior and it has a very specific purpose.
Why do bees swarm?
Honey bee colonies are intricate systems. Every bee plays a role and has a specific job to do to help the colony function as it should. Just like the queen’s job is to reproduce, the colony itself seeks to reproduce as well. Swarming behavior is how the colony reproduces. And just like the rest of honey bee behavior, it is well orchestrated and truly amazing.
Honey bee queens can lay several thousand eggs in a day. As you can imagine, the hive can get quite large relatively quickly. When her existing colony gets too big for the hive, it becomes obvious to the colony that it must divide in two. A crowded hive is unsafe for bees and detrimental to the health of the hive. Resources such as water, pollen and nectar can become hard to come by and lead to the death of the bees. The swarming behavior helps prevent this from occurring and allows for a colony to continue to thrive.
What happens when bees swarm?
When a colony gets too big, the worker bees get to work preparing for a swarm. The work they do to get ready for moving day is really quite amazing. First, the worker bees who care for the queen will begin to feed her less. Why? They want her to lose a little weight so she will be able to fly during the swarm. At the same time, the worker bees will begin preparing for a new queen. They do this by continuing to feed a few chosen larvae a diet of royal jelly. When the new queen bee is developed enough, the real action begins.
When the time is right, the old queen and about half the honey bees in the hive will leave their home in search of somewhere new to live. Swarming bees will find a place to hang out while scout bees search for the perfect home. Swarms can typically be found on trees, mailboxes or other structures that make a good temporary resting zone. While the bees wait for the scout bees to find the perfect real estate, they surround the queen to keep her safe and protected.
Scout bees have an important job. They must find an ideal location to start the new colony. Sometimes their work is done in just a few hours, and other times it may take several days. Once they have found their new home, the scout bees will communicate this to the rest of the hive. Through their movements, they will communicate the exact location. Then, the cluster of bees and the queen will get moving.
Moving day is no time to rest. The worker bees will immediately begin to build honeycomb, forage for food and water and care for the young.
What happens to the bees that stayed behind? Well, they pretty much stick to the status quo. They continue their work of caring for the queen and the young and foraging for pollen and nectar.
Are swarms dangerous?
The sight of a bee swarm can be unnerving and frankly, extremely frightening. But swarming bees are typically nothing to worry about. Bees in a swarm don’t have a hive to protect. They also must preserve their energy so that they can fly and protect the queen while swarming. They really don’t want to bother with you during this time.
However, if they are aggravated, they will not sit idly by. After all, they still have their queen to defend. It is never advised that you disturb a swarm in any way. It is always best to leave them alone. Chances are that they will be gone within a few hours or a few short days.
San Diego Bee Swarm Removal
When you have a swarm on your property, the best advice is to leave them alone and let them move along once they have found their new home. If the swarm is in a location that could cause harm to humans, contact a professional live bee removal company to remove and relocate your swarm right away.
If the swarm has decided that your home is their ideal location to relocate, the experts at D-Tek Live Bee Removal can help you safely and humanely remove the bees and relocate them to a better location where they can thrive.