UPDATE: ABC Bees no longer runs a swarm catching community. As the urban beekeeping community has grown since 2011, much more structured and organized response programs have been created through the regional beekeeping communities. Find your community here
Our goal: Education through exposure, mentorship, and experience! Throughout June and July, honey bees swarm. Swarming is the honey bees natural way of reproducing. Because a Queen bee cannot live without her hive, a hive of bees that has gotten too large for their home will split in to two; one cluster of bees leaving with the old queen to find a new home to propagate, and the second cluster stays behind with the babies (brood) and awaits the hatching of a new Queen. The new Queen is unmated, and therefore after she takes her mating flight, she then brings new genetics in to the hive and refreshes the whole colony after a few generations of new bees!
The first cluster of bees has left the safety and comfort of their home to find a new one. Once the bees leave the hive, they will not have any access to food stores until they find their new home, draw wax, fill the comb with nectar, let the nectar evaporate in to honey, then they can feed baby bees: therefore the cycle has begun. It helps to think of bees, at all times, not as individuals, but each bee as a tentacle of the whole colony and when bees swarm it is the most obvious. The single bee is at all times making decisions with consideration of the whole community, they are truly communal insects! So, when the hive swarms, they are NOT instinctively defensive as many may think, rather they are concerned with staying together and finding a nesting site as soon as possible. The community of bees swarming can fall victim to Not to mention that they have eaten their bellies full of honey and pollen before leaving their hive so that they would have enough energy for the adventure that awaits them, making it challenging for them to sting if they wanted too!
So, you want to learn more about bees, find a mentor, or catch some bees to keep in your own backyard? It is this simple: click here and register! You will join the telephone tree and get contacted via text the location and time of swarm capture every time a swarm is called in. That way, if you are in the neighbourhood you can come out and join in the exciting experience of catching a swarm!