A swarm is a natural occurrence in the honeybee world, and many people often think honeybee swarms are hornets or wasp nests. Honeybee colonies continue to fluctuate in population over the course of the year. Late spring and late summer when their colonies tend to have more individuals, a consensus is reached among the bees that the colony must become 2. The original queen and many of her worker daughters will leave, making room for a new queen to start the honeybee cycle all over. Before this happens, a new queen bee is developing and will remain in the original hive with a small portion of remaining worker bees. This new queen will begin a new generation of bees, while the previous queen will leave with a large portion of the original colony. This entire process begins long before the swarm is visible. First “scout bees” go looking for a new place to call home. Returning scout bees will pass their message to others in the hive and the most enthusiastic messengers convince the others to visit the new home options. The soon to depart worker bees gather as much honey as they can, and the queen will emerge from the hive with her nurse bees flying a short distance. Queen bees fly only for two reasons, to mate and to find a new home. Prior to swarming, a queen is rationed in order to weigh less for her upcoming flight. As 1/3 to 3/4 of the colony of bees gathers around her, the loud buzzing settles, and the cluster of bees is now a swarm. This ball of bees is often found in a tree, and can remain in their cluster anywhere from hours to days. When the bees are convinced the new location is the most suitable, and the queens wings are stretched and ready to make the longer flight, the swarm flies off in a massive cloud to their new residence.
A couple years ago I was contacted about a swarm that was located in rural Two Harbors up in a pine tree near an intersection. Local citizens were concerned that someone would be stung, and so the City of Two Harbors Police Department and the City of Two Harbors Electric Department helped accompany me to retrieve the swarm. The colony of bees was safely removed and brought to the farm to live in a new hive. A big thanks to all involved in helping! Check out the pictures and links below to learn more.