I went to check in on our veggie garden this morning and was surprised to see quite a number of bees swarming around our compost bin. I called my wife Shao Ping and collected the camera. In that short time they had broken up and were excitedly buzzing around our garden and the backyard of our neighbour’s home. We had a chat over the fence with our neighbours.
Moments later they began swarming around our compost bin once more. I took a series of photographs and a short video clip (which is presently processing on Vimeo ~ link will come later). We watched in amusement and amazement as they buzzed around the bin and throughout our garden. Within twenty minutes or so they were gone. The compost bin was not to become a hive. We called a bee keeper for advice and he was going to come over to visit however we called back later to advise that they had moved on.
It was a lucky moment witnessing this natural event. Serendipitous. If I had walked out half an hour later Shao Ping and I would have missed the event.
I was able to stand a metre or so from the compost bin. They were not aggressive. I guess I would not be typing this post if they had been. Our local birds, permanent features of our garden, were quite excited by the event and were seemingly calling out to let all their friends know. It is a beautiful spring day.
A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, usually within a two- or three-week period depending on the locale, but occasional swarms can happen throughout the producing season. Wikipedia. Swarming (honey bee). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swarming_(honey_bee)