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. 

This picture was taken just minutes after a swarm of thousands of bees moved into this empty bee box in our yard.


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! 

3 Responses to “Update: Don’t Worry, Bee Happy”

  1. That is soooooo good to hear and how lucky you were to be there to see it! That’s why my glass is always half full…out of every upset, there’s always something good around the corner 🙂

  2. Okay, NOW I NEED an empty bee box… and I may have to sit outside for days , maybe weeks, until I get a tornado swarm moving into the bee box to witness that event. I cannot believe you got to see that, almost sounds surreal. If you hadn’t put in that butterfly garden you would not have been out there with a picnic! What a great course of events. I am sooooooo jealous.

  3. Mark Simmons Says:

    Gongrats to you, to be able to see an event like this. We have had a bee hive in our tree for about 15 years now. They all moved out and it sat empty for a few months then one afternoon I had the plesure of seeing a swarm move in. They moved in a vortex until they were all in. Then a year later I came out one morning to hear a loud buzzing and got to see a swarm from the tree form a ball in the nieghbors tree. They stayed about 6 hours and left. It was so fascinating. Now I have 2 hive boxes in my back yard and can claim the title of Beekeeper. One of my hives absconded 2 months ago so I Iearned to split my other hive and start a new one. It is much better to have 2 hives instead of one. I have harvested 46 lbs of honey so far.

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