Friday, October 09, 2009


Laura and I were in the beeyard loading empty honey barrels into our trailer when we saw this swarm.  Actually, we heard it first.  No photo can capture the essence of a swarm without that loud buzzing sound.  If you look closely at the photo, you'll notice that a lot of the bees are blurred or streaked because they're moving so fast.  After several minutes the number of bees decreased and the buzzing slowly subsided as the swarm gradually settled down into the brush.  Often they'll hang from a tree branch for several days until scout bees find their permanent new home.  This swarm occurred on August 6, which is very unusual.  The swarming season is usually in late spring, when plenty of honey is coming in, which allows them to quickly establish a new colony.  This swarm occurred during the middle of a hot, dry summer, when there was no honey flow.  It was so dry that even the saltcedars had stopped blooming.  It's not obvious to me why these bees chose such an unlikely time to swarm.