It’s like the egg and the hen, which came first ?
How does it work in the wild ?
In the wild, a bee colony, which means several thousand workers, some
drones and a queen are living in a cavity. It can be a hole in a tree
trunk, a proper beehive, a chimneystack, a cave, … this list is far from
When the mating season begins, normally spring and summer, the old queen leaves the cavity with roughly 30.000 workers. This group gathers on a branch, or maybe a lamp post, they will hang there for 24h-48h until the scout-worker bees have found a new cavity which is suitable to settle the new colony. It is called a swarm. The old cavity will have virgin queens emerging, fighting one another. The winner will then reach a drone congregation area to mate and come back to the old cavity, ready to lay eggs. The continuity is then achieved.
Opportunism is part of human nature
When the group of workers and the queen is hanging somewhere, this swarm is ready to start a new colony, it needs only the cavity.
It’s time for you to catch it!!! I can’t do that if the swarm is too high, I ‘m too small, and afraid of climbing a ladder but maybe you’re not! This way of catching swarms was how our ancestors got their bees.
It will work eventually, you just have to find a swarm of bees somewhere, you just have to be patient…
It’s nice to become one of these hunter-gatherers again. But you don’t know your queen’s pedigree, maybe she’s old and will not make it through the next season, maybe she’s naughty and the whole colony will be mean, you don’t know, you’ll find out soon enough.
In case you want your bees this year
Ask yourself how often you have seen a swarm? Hum, I see, not very often…
Maybe you have put on display in your garden an empty beehive to attract scout workers in search of a cavity for their swarm?
But if you really want a bee colony now: buy it! You can either buy the complete beehive or a five frames nucleus from a shop. Your bee colony dealer can also give you advice and answer your questions.