Swarms of Honey Bees

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Nature Watch: Swarms of Honey Bees

At this time of year some of our restless honey bees go searching for new and better nesting sites. It is a natural reproduction of the colony,

They swarm with the old queen bee, and leave a new queen bee and some worker bees in their old home. After the colony has produced its new queen, they send out Scout Bees to explore up to 15 potential nesting sites.

Each Scout returns and tries to persuade the rest of the colony that their chosen site is a five star hotel. They do this by a series of energetic and lengthy dances. The scout that wins the "Strictly competition" for the best dancer sways the decision of the colony.

The colony then feed themselves up with honey for the journey which could be several miles, and off they go as a swarm, travelling low over hedges and gardens.

On their journey they may alight on trees, shrubs, & fences & may be there for only 30 minutes but others may stay longer. Bees are generally docile in a swarm and will not sting unless seriously provoked.

Traditional nesting sites are hollows in trees but they find good nesting sites in recesses in walls, chimneys and bee keepers' hives. Bees preferences are for dark recesses, 5 -10metres off the ground.

Some bee keepers are equipped to collect swarms from sensitive locations. If householders are concerned by a swarm, local bee keeper Chris Knibbs on 811533 should be able to rehouse them safely without charge.

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