The last inspection showed the bees are not ready to swarm just yet, as there are no queen cells. I think the weather has been too mild. There
were a couple of queen cups which are anchor points for queen cells, so this means they are practising. However, they have been increasing their population nicely and now occupy most of the hive. A lack of space is the most common reason for swarming.
Once a queen cell has been sealed it will take a few days for a new queen bee to emerge. It is the old queen who will take ‘volunteers’ in a swarm while the new queen stays to inherit the hive. All the volunteers fill up their honey stomachs before they leave as they will need this to build their new home. Honey is converted to wax which is manipulated into comb. Comb is used to hold brood as well as honey and pollen.
Don’t be afraid of a swarm, just close all doors and windows, stand well away and watch, in awe. The bees will not attack because they have no ‘home’ to defend. They may have a temporary ‘stop over’ in a place that doesn’t look like a good nesting site, such as a branch of a tree. You may also witness scouting behaviour where a number of bees will ‘inspect’ a candidate site for new nest. They actually describe possible sites using the same ‘waggle dance’ that they use to indicate the location and quantity of nectar, the best site is then ‘voted’ on by the whole colony before they leave.
As I said in last month’s article – if you see a swarm please contact me on 07771-862- 890 and I will come as soon as I can.
[Please note that this message is not posted on behalf of Bentworth Parish Council and does not necessarily reflect the Parish Council’s policy]