Saturday, May 03, 2008

'Swarming up

Sophie and I were walking with a couple friends and their dog after lunch. Suddenly the mailman who's down at the other end of the block starts yelling at us. "Stop! Stop!"

I'm thinking, "Geez, I guess he really doesn't like dogs," until he yells, "There's a bee swarm right there!"

Sure enough!
The bees came from a hive in a nearby hollow tree:
The woman who lives right there said they swarm every year as the hive reaches capacity and sends out a new queen.
Swarming bees aren't a danger if you don't mess with them and move slowly. They're more interested in their queen and in what the hive scouts have to say.
Isn't that cool?

P.S. You can see more swarms here.


  1. Very cool, given everything I've been reading about colony collapse disorder.

    However, since I'm allergic and could die if stung...I'm glad they're by you and not by me!

  2. Yeah, I thought about that. I've never been stung and don't know if I'm allergic (though I think childhood allergy testing would have covered that. But maybe not?).

    In any case, I was standing right under it and reaching up with the camera, and the bees didn't mind at all. There were a ton of them just zipping by me.

  3. Very neat to see but just through pictures lol.

  4. Yes, that is totally cool, but deadly if you are allergic to bee stings, like my brother is.
    Back in college, my one of my professors was studying bees and have 4 hives on campus!

  5. That was very brave of you to stand so close!

  6. Or stupid! In any case,nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    I hope the bees find a good new home in a safe place.

  7. OMG..I think I said this out loud 3x while looking at your M and R came over to see what the fuss was ARE brave..amazing pics, I've only ever seen cartoons with swarms before! :O)

  8. un-beelieveable!
    but seriously very cool but I'm guessin you used something called the "zoom" feature?



    I am afraid of insects.

  10. Well here's another interesting tidbit. The bees that are leaving the hive gorge themselves on honey before they go, which they then convert to wax in their new home. So swarming bees are essentially hanging out saying, "Oh god, I'm sooooo full. Really would like a nap." They're totally mellow.

    I watched some videos of capturing a swarm, and in a case like this you could just put a box under the swarm and give the branch a good thump so most of the bees drop in. The rest would follow. Then you take them home and put them in your own beehive box and voila, honey for you!

    Deb, I did you the zoom for that close-up, but I was standing right under the swarm and holding the camera up, about two feet away.

    Don't worry, groovy! They're gone now. Bees really are good insects and not aggressive. Wasps and hornets on the other hand, yech. Scary!