The Arrival of Bees
The arrival of a swarm to a newly installed Tree Hive is one of the most eagerly anticipated moments as a bee host. A correctly baited and positioned hive has more than a 90% chance of being populated during its first season. However, we are dealing with the wonders of nature, so nothing is a certainty and always expect the unexpected.
The First Signs
In the UK swarming typically takes place between the months of April to July. It is very easy to assume that the sight of a handful of bees around the hive entrance means that a swarm has sneaked in unnoticed. More often than not they are scout bees scoping out the tree hive as a potential new home. I have witnessed this activity days before a swarm actually arrives.
One can get an idea that they are scout bees by their behaviour. They fly around the hive in an inquisitive manner, hovering, darting here and there, in and out of the entrance, as they assess the potential new home.
The arrival of the swarm is a spectacular event, one which can be a bit intimidating for some. A mass of bees, sometimes described as a 'buzzing black cloud' descends onto their new home. Within 20 minutes it can have all calmed down and most of the bees will have made their way into the hive to start constructing their new nest.