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Swarming Honey Bees

Published on by Dr Paul Beckett

Swarming bees on holly treeDuring a recent bat survey in the Sussex Weald, our ecologists happened across a relatively uncommon and fascinating event: a swarm of bees resting in a holly tree. Swarming is usually a spring event. When the beehive is too small for the colony, they raise a new queen and half of the worker bees leave the old beehive with the new queen, looking for a new nest. This is also how the colony reproduce, from a single colony to two or more, depending on the initial size of the ‘mother colony’. The swarming bees create a safe environment for the new queen in this way. They can stay bunched like this for a few hours and up to one week. During this time they don’t eat. Scout bees explore the surrounding area looking for suitable nesting spots, where the colony will then establish a new home for the new queen and her worker family.

About the author: Dr Paul Beckett

Dr Paul Beckett - picture

Dr Paul Beckett is one of the UK’s leading experts in Japanese knotweed and is a member of the Expert Witness Institute. He regularly provides Japanese knotweed expert witness services. He helped produce the RICS knotweed guidance for surveyors and was integral in the formation of the Property Care Association (PCA) Invasive Weed Control Group (IWCG).

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