It’s been a while since our last post and some of you might be wondering, “How are the beehives?” I posed the question to Jenifer Priest, Development Director and Queen Bee at River City Youth Ops. “The hives are doing pretty well. They’re producing honey and we need to add supers. Supers,” she explained, “are frames half the size of the box [hive] that have places for the bees to add honey. Hopefully we’ll be extracting honey this year!”
In other exciting bee news, last week one of our hives produced a swarm! This is another sign that the hives are strong and healthy. Swarms happen because there’s plenty of food to go around. The hive is getting crowded, and a new queen egg is laid in preparation for the hive to split. The old queen leaves and rests on a bush, tree, etc. A bunch of bees follow and cluster around her while others scout a new location. After they find one they go back to the swarm and everyone leaves together. This whole process usually happens over a couple of hours.
Check out this video Jenifer Priest made when beekeepers Ellen Miller and Jack Miller of the West Plains Beekeepers Association came over to capture and relocate the swarm. To capture the swarm Ellen and Jack shook the branch over a lidded box with holes in it until most of the bees fell inside. The ones outside could still smell the queen, and hurried in to rejoin her. It only takes about 20 minutes for the swarm to reform inside the box.