Update: Don’t Worry, Bee Happy
We couldn’t believe our eyes today. Loring and I were outside having a picnic lunch in our newly planted butterfly garden when we heard a loud buzzing noise. We noticed a massive swarm of bees that looked like a black tornado swirling around over the top of our empty bee box. The bees that were in this box died suddenly a few weeks ago and the box has been sitting empty. (I never got around to moving it). The swarm of bees swirled and swirled over the box until every single one of them was in the box. It was amazing! I had my camera sitting right next to me but I decided to grab-up my 3-year-old and watch from a safer distance instead. However, the swarm probably would have been harmless because the honeybees would be full of honey and looking for a new home. Usually they won’t sting when they don’t have a home to defend.
Within just a couple of minutes, every bee in the massive swarm was in this box. I believe they have found their new home. I immediately called a beekeeper friend and he told me this was great news. He said if they are still around in a week, then they will probably stay for good. He also said there is a good chance that the new bees are European honeybees (Apis mellifera) and not Africanized honeybees (Apis mellifera scutellata). The new bees might have a strong queen that is a survivor. We’ll leave them alone for about a month and then we will open up the box to find the queen and investigate (to see if she is laying eggs).
My beekeeper friend told me that beekeepers usually keep an empty bee box in their yard with high hopes that a swarm will move in. He said it is fairly common for a swarm to do this.
A great place for information about honeybees and related events for Southwest Florida is the beekeepers association of southwest florida website.
Most gardeners are seeing less and less bees in their garden due to the huge decrease in the honeybee population. We are so excited about our new colony of honeybees. We hope they stay.
Come grow with us!