What is a honeybee swarm and what should I do if I see one?
Swarming is how honeybees reproduce. In honeybee society, the colony consists of thousands of individual bees, all serving the colony and incapable of living on their own. Therefore, in order for honeybees to reproduce, the entire colony must reproduce. Swarming occurs most frequently during the months of April, May, and June. The queen leaves the hive with roughly half the bees leaving with her. She typically lands on a tree branch or other structure and is immediately joined by the rest of the bees, forming a ball of bees (the swarm). Meanwhile, scout bees fly off looking for a more sheltered place to serve as their new home. This is where Big Sky Beekeepers comes in. The bees are looking for a place to call home, and we are looking for bees to occupy our hives. It’s a win-win situation! We provide them with a suitable home (the hive) in which their chance of survival is enhanced. Swarms not captured by beekeeper often end up in places like inside the wall of somebody’s house, where they are not likely to be welcome. It is a goal of Big Sky Beekeepers to capture as many honeybee swarms as possible, for the benefit of the bees and the beekeepers who receive them.