A Gathering of Bees

One day as I was on my way to the store when I saw something in the distance in our local park that was out of the ordinary.  I was pretty sure that I knew what it was as I had seen it before, so I drove closer.

Bee Swarm

Can you see it?  It is the dark mass on the right side of a newly planted Desert Willow tree.

Once I realized that my guess was right, I drove right back home to get my trusty camera.

Bee Swarm

What this is, is a swarm of bees that has stopped to rest in this tree.

Swarming is actually a fascinating phenomenon.  Usually the old queen bee of a colony lays special eggs to create a new queen bee.  The old queen then leaves her colony with a bunch of worker bees to form a new colony somewhere else.

They usually stop along the way for a day or two, which is what happened here.  While they are resting, scout bees are sent out to look for a new place to build their colony.  This is a very vulnerable time for the bees as they are unprotected.  The queen is located in the center of the mass for better protection.

Bee Swarm

Swarming usually occurs during a 2 – 3 week period in the spring.  You do not have to do anything if you see a swarm, but stay away.  The bees will usually leave within a day or two.  If they are in a dangerous location, then a bee keeper can take them somewhere else and re-release them.  You can read more about bee swarms here.

Did you know that bee keepers clip the wings of their queens to keep them from flying away?  I think that is just so interesting, although I wouldn’t want to do it ;-)

  1. Kris says

    We had that in our yard on a tree. My husband and I were scared, we pondered for a day thinking of what to do. Then the next day they were gone! thanks for the info, because we couldn’t for the life of us figure out what happened.

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