Monday, July 19, 2010

swarm!

did you know that when a hive of honeybees grows too large for their nest they create another queen & she takes half the hive & they go look for a new place to live?


did you also know while they are waiting to find a new place to live they hang out all together & they call it a swarm?


furthermore, did you know that a large hive started at this time of the year will probably not survive because there will not be enough time for them to produce sufficient honey to make it through winter?


and, did you know that they are fastidiously clean...to the point that they "hold it" all winter until it warms up & they can leave the hive?


and finally, did you know that bees have a collective temperament that is determined by the queen?


I didn't know any of that until nate the beekeeper came over saturday to remove the swarm that had appeared on our shared back fence {mostly on the neighbors side}. I knew a little about colony collapse disorder so I wanted to make sure that the bees wouldn't be harmed before all the options were clear {luckily the neighbors were nice & understood}, which is what led me to find nate online at the entomology website of kansas state university. he volunteers his time to collect bees in situations like this & man does he love doing it - he came right over & was downright giddy at how many bees were in the swarm {he guessed about 80,000}.


it was a two day process, made much easier by the fact that the queen was very nice so as a group they were very easy to deal with. in the end he took the box full of bees away to live by a field of clover where he will subsidize their food source with sugar water so that they can produce enough honey to get through the winter. he assured me that any stragglers who didn't make it into the box would rejoin the original hive {which is in the limb of our tree} and hopefully they will all live happily ever after :)

20 comments:

ana_didi said...

Glad they will live, what they and you stay safe. :)

Nancy said...

Bees are fascinating creatures, aren't they? We had to have someone remove a hive one time, and I learned so much. They really are amazing!

Larissa said...

while I find that absolutely fascinating and wondrous, I am ever so thankful for (crazy) folks like Nate who love to get close to bees. Because they freak me out, especially in groups that large. Do you ever get any honey from your tree? And I guess now I have a new perspective on that -- rob the hive of honey and you could be killing the hive, right?

Sarah and Jack said...

Good for you for finding someone to collect them instead of just killing them all. :-)

Sunshine said...

incredible!!

emily b said...

Wow, I had no idea! That's awesome that they are now going to live through the winter with your help - kudos! -e

sassypackrat said...

With bees disappearing at such an alarming rate I'm so pleased that you had them collected and saved! So many would have just killed them all.
Kudos to you.

Sentimentally Me said...

ummmmm. .. . . . methinks I left my BEE comment on ENRICO's Post * whoopsie * sorry! :)

PS: My word verification on it began with DOE * how wierd is that!!??!

mixette said...

My neighbor had a relocating swarm take up residence in one of his trees this spring and turns out there is a bee-relocation guy here in Austin too! I guess the ability to Google is helping the bees since concerned folks can just run inside and get good information on what the heck is happening right away, and connect with an expert too.

Happy trails Kansas bees!

giddy99 said...

YAY!!! I'm so glad you called Nate the Bee Saver; someone else might have called an exterminator... I might get some bees of my own... still thinking on it. :)

hillary said...

What a fascinating story with such a happy ending. Yay for bees.

modernmaam said...

I love that story!

fillyjonk said...

I guess the honey-producing vs. having-to-subsidize-the-colony thing is the source of the old saying,

"A swarm in May, is worth a load of hay/A swarm in June, is worth a silver spoon/A swarm in July is worth a butterfly."

Gretchen said...

Good for you for not just killing them off! I'm so happy that everything worked out! They look so...vulnerable there, all exposed on the fence! Poor things...

Kimberly said...

Unbelievable! Kudos to you for finding someone so bee conscious. They are such a precious resource to us! My sister just had to deal with a swarm (docile temperament as well) and found a similar bee-loving keeper.

Crooked Sister said...

Wow! I've always liked bees, but all this info just made them so much cooler. It's even cooler to here about guy who is giddy over bees.
:)

Jenne said...

What a wonderful story! I love hearing stories of bee success! WTG on calling the bee guy! :)

Laura-IH said...

Wow! What a cool thing to get to see!

Shelley said...

I was made aware of some of this information recently by reading the book...The Secret life of Bees and then watching the movie....I enjoyed the book however,it had some offensive language that I didn't care for...I actually took a pen and marked through the words so the next reader of my book wouldn't have to endure them...smiles...it is a great story....blessings

Cheryl said...

Love the bee info! Shelley- can I have your edited book?