Friday, April 16, 2010

How to Create a Blog

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Honeybee Swarming Season

Swarming is an instinctive part of the annual life cycle of the honeybee colony and is necessary for the species to survive. Swarming occurs when a colony of honeybees divides and 30 to 70 percent of the bees, along with their queen, leave the hive to start a new colony. You may find a swarm of honeybees hanging from a tree branch or resting on your clothes line while they are looking for a new home. The swarm can be the size of a softball or as large as a basketball. The tendency to swarm is usually greatest when the bees increase their population rapidly in the period before the honey- flow. Therefore the cause of swarming is normally associated with a crowded brood (eggs/ larvae/ pupae) nest. Most swarming takes place in our area during April – June. There are many other reasons why a honeybee colony will swarm. A lack of food, age of the queen, bad odors, a heavy infestation of wax moths, repeated attacks by bears and other predators, and sometimes disease.

*** If you notice a swarm in Buncombe County, please call the Buncombe County Cooperative Extension office at (828) 255-5522. We have a list of local beekeepers who we can contact for catching the swarms. If the honeybees decide to take up residence inside the wall of your home or storage building, the local beekeepers can help with that too. If you notice a swarm in another county, contact your local Cooperative Extension Office.
Swarm resting on the bottom of a picnic table.

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.