The bees are working at full speed trying to gather the last of May’s nectar flow from apples, hawthorne and strawberries on the allotment. June can be a rather poor month for nectar, many colonies will try to swarm during this month, this is the bees way of expanding their colony and their territory. The old queen lays eggs that are then fed on a much richer, high protein diet, these develop into fertile queens. The first queen to hatch kills off the other cells, then mates with a few drones and a new colony is established.
The swarming of bees can be daunting to onlookers, several thousand bees suddenly cluster in a tree or bush and form a ‘ rugby shaped’ ball. If left alone however it is quite rare for any one to get stung during this natural process, as the bees have gorged themselves on honey before leaving the hive and have nothing to defend. A quick call to a local bee keeper and they will soon be in a box, taken to a safe place and given a new home.
A few more bee facts:
- A worker bee’s life cycle in the summer months – egg to emerging bee takes 22 days – next 10 days the bee performs various jobs in the hive to build up strength for foraging – 21 days of hard toil gathering nectar and pollen and then the bee sadly dies – 6 to 8 short weeks of life and a total of 5g of honey accumulated!
- The spring build up is at its maximum during the next couple of weeks and a really good colony should build to between 40 and 60 thousand bees.
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Kind regards, from the HIVE