“How can I prevent swarming?” is a common question. An equally common answer is, “Give the bees more space so they are not crowded.” From this we get, “Crowding causes swarming.” Let’s look at that a little more closely. In his book Honeybee Democracy, Thomas Seeley writes, “To this day, no one knows what specific […] Read more
Just after midday on Monday, a swarm lifted from the hive that sits in the shade of our pump house. I often wonder what the bees think of water pumps cycling at all hours, but they don’t seem to care. The colony that lives there usually winters well, builds up fast, and produces lots of […] Read more
One of the things I like best about the west coast is the height of the trees. They grow quickly and they grow tall. But as a beekeeper, what a pain. Yesterday was no exception. I was chatting on the phone with my sister-in-law when I happened to glance out the back window. The sky […] Read more
It was exactly nine days ago that my hive number four threw a gigantic swarm that landed in a fir tree. Today was exactly the same. After several days of cold and rainy weather, today dawned bright and warm. This time I was weeding my pollinator garden when I heard the unmistakeable sound of a […] Read more
After spending four cold nights swinging from a Douglas-fir, my errant charges have returned. Watching them reminded me of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Requiem: Home is the sailor, home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill. These are the bees I told you about earlier in the week, the ones that swarmed just […] Read more
Yesterday broke crystalline and balmy after a week of frosty nights and wet days. It could only mean one thing: swarms would be on a rampage. So I said to my dog, “Dog, we’ve got to have a look at number 4. I sense trouble.” A swarm in western Washington So I gathered some equipment […] Read more
John Carey of central Illinois sent these photos of a swarm he hived on June 30. Nice catch! It’s another case where the tree is barely up to the task.