This month I would like to alert you to a particular bee behavior called swarming. Sometimes the queen bee is really productive and a hive starts to get cramped and over-crowded. When that happens, the mother queen bee, together with about half of her daughters and sons, leaves the hive in search of a new home. This actually happens quite regularly and you might see a swarm of bees on a tree, under an eave, on the ground, or somewhere else.
Please don’t be afraid and DON’T DISTURB THE SWARM! Swarming bees are not aggressive; rather the swarm is protecting their queen and scouting for a new hive location. (The swarm in the photo is a large swarm.) If you do see a swarm, call the swarm hotline right away at 844-779-2337. Volunteer beekeepers will respond to collect the escaped bees and will provide them with a nice, spacious new hive.
If you do try to spray the swarm with an insecticide or swat it away, you will likely get stung – probably multiple times! You also do not want the swarm to become a nuisance by taking up residence in an attic or other inconvenient location. The swarm hotline was created to help avoid these situations.
My mother the queen is quite healthy and productive. We like our hive in Stephanie’s backyard and (as far as I know) we intend to stay here. Our hive is a Lathrop Hive structure, so it can be expanded to accommodate our growing population.
I am still busily collecting pollen and am finding more and more yummy floral food sources for my family. I particularly like periwinkle and onion flowers. Honey bees can be really helpful with pollinating a strawberry patch. I also really, really like dandelions. Dandelions are some of the earliest blooming plants and so plentiful. My compound eyes can see nothing wrong with these little yellow flowers, but humans don’t seem to think they are pretty. If you can’t tolerate a few dandelions in your yard, please consider removing them by hand rather than using herbicide as this is less harmful to us bees and other pollinating species.
Beatrice mentioned that she really likes these plants: