The honey bees are swarming!

TURN ON YOUR SOUND FOR THIS ONE!

Have you ever been in a swarm of bees? It’s an amazing feeling. There is this large vibration in the air. Tons of bees talking, buzzing, Running into you and your veil! There is a smell of warm honey in the air mixed with spring and pollen! All your senses are on high alert and yet there seems to be unity with everything that is going on. The bees have all loaded up with honey, they have taken to the sky and they are following their new queen to their new, yet determined home.

The bees have decided that the hive they were in was too crowded and they needed to make a new queen to take some of them away, to find a new home. My favorite part about a swarm is that right before they leave they all load up on honey. They load up on as much as they can eat and carry. It’s like one last party at the local hive bar before they all rush out the door. It’s really fun to imagine that scene in there!

On the less silly side of things, it’s kind of the way bees reproduce, it’s like one hive having a baby and sending it out into the world. Sure they lay thousands of eggs in the hive, but the beehive acts as one organism. No one bee ever leaves on her own to start a new hive. They leave as a hive.

It’s a surreal experience to be part of this whole process and to help them find a new home. Once they find a new home they will fill it up with new bees and when it gets full they will make another queen and some of those bees will move on again. It’s the way nature reproduces bee colonies. It’s super cool!

But here’s the thing! Modern bee farmers don’t let it happen. Well, they try everything they can to stop it from happening. Once again modern farmers are fighting against nature. We can learn so much more when we step back and learn from nature, rather than fighting it. Honey farmers don’t want it to happen because if it does, usually 50% or more of the beehive goes with the new queen. The bees left behind will probably be ok but they won’t produce tons of honey that year. Which in the end means a huge cut in profits.

Here at our place we are trying something new and letting swarms happen. Fortunately, we don’t rely on honey sales as our income and most times of the year we buy honey from the store. But it’s all in hopes that we can do something different and better in the long run.

So what do you do? How can we all help the bees?

  • Why not keep bees? Start with a top bar it’s fairly low maintenance. Or find a neighbor you can help!
  • Support small scale bee farmers. Talk to them find out how you can support them–and buy THEIR honey!
  • Plant native flowering trees and native flowers.
  • Stop using any sort of pesticide that could be killing them
  • Create a Bee bath. It’s like a bird bath but for bees.

Just think honey bee hives in the wild again! Lot’s of them!

This site has lots of great ways you can help the Bees:

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