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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.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology