Jean, the beekeeper, with a swarm
This month and for the next few, Amaral will be visiting Winter Park Honey from Haiti. We are helping him learn to be the best beekeeper and take those skill back to Haiti. There has been progress made in that country since the earthquake of 2010, but there is still much rebuilding work to be done. We are trying to do our part and here is a small way you can help. We want to teach Amaral about capturing bee swarms and establishing them as a hive. Therefore, we need to locate bee swarms.
Swarming is the honeybee’s method of colony reproduction. The old queen and about half of the worker bees leave their former nest and seek a new home, usually in the spring . The swarm consists of a large number of bees flying in a cloud that seems to drift along through the air. People not familiar with honey bees are generally frightened by such a mass, which can contain 5,000 to 20,000 bees. However, unless a bee becomes tangled in someone’s hair, it isn’t likely to sting. The bees are full of honey for the trip and they need all their numbers to protect the queen and for the new home building. The bees alight on an object and form a cluster around their queen. Some scout bees search out a potential new home. When they return from a good site, they dance on the cluster to communicate the location of their find. If the bees don’t find a new nesting location, they may begin producing beeswax and combs at the spot where the cluster formed, such as a tree limb, the overhang of a house, or another unusual place. These “exposed comb” colonies may exist for awhile, but scavenging bees, hungry birds, and inclement weather usually put an end to them.
If you live in the Central Florida area and should happen to see a swarm, please contact us immediately. We can come collect them and give them a home in a hive. It is good for the bees and will help us. Thank you.