Friday, January 14, 2011

A Swarm in June...

Many beekeepers have a saying:
"A swarm in May is worth a load of hay,
A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon,
a swarm in July isn't worth a fly!"

Both a load of hay and a silver spoon are pretty valuable, but what is a swarm?  A SWARM is when the honeybee hive gets too crowded- there are too many bees and not enough space!  So the queen leaves the hives with some of the worker bees to go look for a new home.

After eating up tons of honey in the hive so they have energy to fly away, they will quickly land in a tree, bush, or other somewhat sheltered location.  There have even been swarms land in the engines of airplanes!  While they're waiting, scout bees go out looking for a more permanent location.  Hollow trees and logs are perfect places for honeybee homes-- but those are hard to find! 

Many beekeepers will come collect swarms in their area, so if you see a swarm, you or your parents can call a beekeeper and see them put the honeybees into a warm, dry, beehive.  Some of the beekeeping organizations are listed here.

Maybe there will be more swarms this June!  I hear they're worth a silver spoon...

"Bee in the Know":  Honeybees are extremely gentle when they swarm because they have eaten so much honey!

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