Bee Swarm


As we were getting ready to leave Jared’s mom’s house after a nice Mother’s Day brunch, I looked out the window of the car and saw this.

I told Jared to stop so that I could take some photos and examine what was going on. Eventually, while we were looking, we collected the entire neighborhood together to watch nature at work. So, what is it?

That is a swarm of bees that was thrown off the main hive. It happens this time of year. I have limited knowledge of beekeeping, but my friend Scott is very knowledgeable, and after spending a year around him and his bees, I did learn a thing or two. The hive breeds new queens every year, and when the queens mature, it is time for them to go and make their own nest. The hive throws out the queen as well as a supporting community to go make a new hive elsewhere.

In this case, there was a hive already in a nearby oak tree, and this set of bees is looking desperately for a new home. They chose the wheel of a go-cart–not a very smart choice, nor a very viable one.

What does one do when they come upon a swarm? Call your local extension service. That is what they are there for. They keep names and numbers of experienced people who are interested in collecting wild swarms and turning them into productive hives. They will come and get the swarm and take them home happily to produce many, many pounds of honey for themselves.

In any case, any person interested in farming, gardening, water supply, etc., etc., (basically anything having to do with the land and being outside) should be familiar with their local extension service. They are supported by our land grant tax dollars to help us as a community be successful in our agriculturally related endeavors. They have Master Gardeners who can help you troubleshoot your garden. They have Master Preservers who can test your pressure canning gauge to make sure you are canning at a safe pressure etc., etc. If you have kids, they are in charge of the 4-H program. Go meet your extension service personnel, I swear, you will walk away amazed that such a resource exists.

One Comment to

“Bee Swarm”

  1. On May 18th, 2009 at 10:24 AM John Says:

    I agree that the Extension Service is a great resource. However, their funding is about to be cut 20-30% which could spell disaster for the organization as a whole. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as they say it will be. Stay tuned!

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