Honey Bees

I am not a regular contributor to the web site but thought I would provide a few words on the subject of honey bees not to be confused with solitary bees , wasps and hornets which are another subject.

Honey bees – at this time of year honey bees enter what is known as the ‘swarmy season’ which generally lasts for 6 weeks or so till end June. Like many of nature’s creatures what used to be a regular pattern of behaviour has over the last 20 years varied considerably. These variations are brought about by the changing seasons, this year in particular we had a very mild winter followed by an early wet spring and warm dry weather.

These conditions mean a bee colony will build up its size very quickly and become short of space in the hive, a common cause for the bees swarm. The last thing a beekeeper wants is to lose their bees through swarming as it means there will be no honey yield that year. Beekeepers manage their hives to prevent swarming but with the restriction on movement and social distancing proper management can be difficult as much of beekeeping involves regular inspection and handling heavy hive items.

Swarms emerge from the hive typically between 11 and 1 o’clock and are made up of the queen and all the mature flying bees from the hive which number a few thousand bees in total. They will fly from the hive forming a noisy cloud of bees generally they then settle in bushes, hedges, trees and on fences. Once settled they send out ‘scout bees’ to look for a suitable site to take up permanent residence, somewhere quiet, undisturbed and dry. Barns, house walls and tiled buildings are ideal. The cluster of bees that has settled awaiting the scouts to return and guide them to their new home will resemble the shape of a rugby ball. As a rule they will fly off to their new chosen residence around about 3 in the afternoon.

Should you be outside and experience a swarm event then move as quickly as possible away from the bees and go inside your home and observe their behaviour from a place of safety.

I have kept bees in Hankerton for the past 30 years and am happy to help remove any swarm should you have one provided they are accessible to collect and take away.

I am contactable on 577123. Brian Betts





Brian Betts