Bee swarm

I was on one of our reserves the other day when I noticed a large number of insects flying around in front of me.  As I approached I realised they were a swarm of honey bees.  Presumably the queen had landed because as I watched, the swarm began to land on the trunk of a Birch tree

bees-1 (Small)

I am told that bees rarely sting when swarming but due to public access, as a precausion I called our local beekeeper to come and collect the bees.

bees-2 (Small)

I believe a swarm is formed when a queen decides to leave the hive and find a new home.  Scout bees are sent out to dry and locate a suitable home and the rest of the bees follow the scouts waiting for then to return with a suitable location.  Hopefully Robin (Treewright) will correct me if I am wrong.

Alan the beekeeper a nice coiled basket which had been locally made, to collect the bees in.  He swept the majority of bees into the basket (ensuring he had the queen)

bees-3 (Small)

He then proped the basket up, turned upside down on a cloth and all the remaining bees graually moved into the basket and they could then be taken away.

bees-4 (Medium)

To find out more about honey bees take a look here BBA


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