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Tis the Season…Swarm Season!

Recently Sarasota Honey Company has received an increase of calls regarding honey bee swarms. Honey bee swarming tends to occur in the spring, right before or during a honey flow. A honey flow is a term used to indicate that one or more major nectar sources are in bloom that the bees can collect in abundance. What Is a Honey Bee Swarm? Honey bee swarms are an amazing natural phenomenon. Swarms can contain thousands of bees massed together on a tree branch, under a roof soffit, or even in the most unexpected locations, like a BBQ pit! Although honey bee swarms may look alarming, swarming is just an instinctual way for bee colonies to reproduce. Warm weather and plentiful supplies of flowers and pollen such as our citrus flower blooms in Florida stimulate the queen to lay more eggs. The resulting large numbers of young bees causes overcrowding in the hive, impeding both the queen’s desire to lay eggs and the worker bees’ ability to add more nectar and pollen. Due to these circumstances the colony will start to raise a princess to prepare to swarm. At the right time the queen and 1/2 of bees will leave the colony (swarm) leaving the remaining colony for the princess to reign. The queen and about half the colony will swirl from their hive and group together in a holding pattern on a tree branch, mailbox or even a car. The bees form a tight cluster around the queen while scout bees go out looking for a hollow space in which to make their new home. Bees will not “chew” a...

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