Photo © Keith Williams
Photo © Robert Curtner

Buzzworthy: When Honeybees Swarm

Have you ever seen a honeybee swarm? NestWatcher Carl Gleditsch reports that in May, a honeybee swarm temporarily took up residence on one of the nest boxes he monitors in Glacier Ridge Metro Park, Ohio. Carl is also a beekeeper and was therefore not alarmed at seeing the mass of bees on the box, which contained nesting Tree Swallows. He went ahead and checked the box anyway; after all, it was only a “small” swarm of 15,000–20,000 bees! [For the record, we would have said it was fine to skip that nest check, even though bees are actually very docile during this time.]

Carl reports that the honeybees were just doing what they naturally do when their hive gets overcrowded—split in half, abscond with the queen, and democratically choose a new cavity. Fortunately for the Tree Swallows, their box was not chosen, and the occupants fledged just fine. As is often the case, no intervention was necessary.