The other day, I was on my way to the store when I saw something in the distance in our local park that was out of the ordinary. I was pretty sure that I knew what it was as I had seen this before and so, I drove nearer.
Can you see it? There is a large mass on the right side of a newly planted Desert Willow tree.
Once I got closer and realized that my guess was right, I turned around and drove home to get my trusty camera.
Swarm of bees
What this is, is a swarm of bees that had stopped to rest in this tree.
Swarming is actually a fascinating phenomenon. Usually the old queen of a bee colony, lays special eggs to create a new queen. Then the old queen leaves with a bunch of her worker bees to form a new colony elsewhere.
They usually stop along the way for a day or two, which is what happened here. While they rest, scout bees are sent out to find a new place to build a new colony. This is a very vulnerable time for the bees as they are unprotected. The queen is in the center of the mass of bees for better protection.
I had to play a bit with the lighting of this photo so that you could see the bees. I stayed in my car and took this photo.
Swarming usually occurs during a 2 – 3 week period in spring. You do not have to do anything if you see a swarm, but stay away. The bees will usually leave in a day or two. If they are in a dangerous location, you can call in a bee-keeper who will take them somewhere else and release them. You can read more about swarming here.
**By the way, did you know that beekeepers clip the wings of the queen bees to keep them from leaving their hives? I think that is just so interesting, although I wouldn’t want to do it.
Although I had observed bees doing this before, I was so happy to have witnessed this fascinating behavior of bees again AND to have had my camera handy.