Iddy Biddy Swarm

A couple of weeks ago, early in the evening, I was closing the blinds at a window when I spotted this.

An iddy-biddy, teeny-weeny honeybee swarm.

That’s a first.  In addition to its being a very late swarm of the season–not unprecedented, but odd–it’s just so…tiny.  And, isn’t it kind of cute?

Do you see it?  It hangs from a branch just above and to the right of our hive, Buzz.

Those honeybees!  Every year, they throw something new at us.  Each beekeeping season, there’s some event, some honeybee goings-on, some mischievous behavior,  that we haven’t witnessed or experienced previously with our honeybees.  In baseball parlance (in honor of the World Series–go Astros!), there’s always a curve-ball with our bees.

The girls like to keep us on our toes.

I didn’t see the swarm as they formed and flew to the tree, but had seen buzzy activity (more than normal) around Buzz, so I must assume the little swarm was from that hive.  There are cast swarms that are subsequent swarms after a main, spring swarm.  Maybe this was a cast swarm? I’m still not certain.  There was a major swarm in the spring which situated itself for a few days in the oak tree above the hives, then moved on somewhere else.  I also know that both hives produced their own queens after the established queen died, or was killed due to its weakness. You can read about that here.  But a mini-swarm? Never, ever have I seen that one before.

A day or two later, the tree bees made their way back down to Buzz (some hung out on Woody) and over the course of a few hours, a honeybee battle ensued.  By the next morning, there was a pile of dead bees on the ground at Buzz’s feet.

Sheesh, honeybees are tough ladies!

In our recent hive checks, we noticed that both Buzz (especially) and Woody (less so) were packed with full frames of honey.  We contemplated whether we should take one or two honey filled frames from the second (top) brood box of Buzz and add new frames for the bees to comb out and the queen to lay more eggs.  This remedy would also relieve the honey bound issues.

And so we did.  More about that soon…

 

13 thoughts on “Iddy Biddy Swarm

  1. I would love if our bees would actually stick around. ours up and left 1.5 years ago and then a few months later a feral swarm moved in. They stayed for about a year and then left. My husband attempted to rescue a swarm in a meter box a few months ago but they didn’t take. Frankly, I’m off the bees and wish my husband would give up!

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    • Gosh, Misti–I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble. Maybe you could focus your husband’s interest in providing habitat for native bees in your area. There’s lots of information about attracting native bees and they’re much easier to make welcome. Wishing you good luck with your pollinators!

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  2. I got so fascinated by the information in that link about swarms that I read the whole thing. The complexity of bee life is almost unbelievable: or should I say, un-bee-lievable. Beekeeping isn’t anything I’d want to do, but I enjoy reading about your adventures with the creatures.

    After reading the linked article, I do think I’d not be so nervous if I see another swarm. The first and only one I’ve seen was pretty large, and even though they seemed perfectly content to just hang around and not bother anyone, I moved on down the road. Now I wish I’d stayed to see their removal.

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    • The honeybees are fascinating and they haven’t been all that much trouble, but they sure know how to shake things up and keep us on our toes!

      Swarms are amazing and while a swarm might look scary, the bees are at their most gentle when they’re swarming: they’ve gorged on honey, they don’t have larvae or honey to protect, they’re just so in love with their queen!

      We’ve had several swarms, but the first one was on a weekend when we were home and saw it begin. You’ll think I’m nuts, but I stood right in the midst of the cloud of bees–forcing myself to relax–and it was quite an experience. I’m not sure I’d ever go so far as to place a swarm on myself like some people (Google it!), but feeling their energy was really something.

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