One of the interesting phenomena in nature is the process of bee swarm. The sight might scare some who are not aware of the process as their movement charges up the atmosphere around. A bee swarm can range anywhere from 1500 to 30000 bees of different cadres, such as drones, workers and the queen. Swarming is a part of an annual cycle of honey bee colony and is carried out to increase their production and divide to reproduce in more numbers. The honey bees together decide that it is time to split and find a new place for nesting. Once decided, they start strategizing and communicating in a remarkable way. Biologists compare the bee swarm activity to the organization of neurons by the complex human brain.
The bee swarm activity is initiated due to congestion in the nest, especially when the queen becomes old and infertile. Starvation and excess of heat are other reasons for the occurrence of bee swarms. Bee swarms are controlled by experienced and skilled beekeepers and humans who maintain beehives for commercial purposes. You can find bee swarms in large quantity during the early summer and late spring when the population of bees multiplies rapidly. The bee swarm during the day when the light is bright and there is no wind especially during 10 am to 3 pm.
The honey bees love nesting in cavities and hence try to find out a cavity that can provide a storage area of 15 liters. Hollow trees are the first choice in wilderness whereas in commercial areas, the bees try to form nest in hollow building walls such as below the plinth and under the porches. The bees allot the work of hunting for new homes to a group and when one of the bees finally finds the potential nesting site, it starts dancing in a pattern that resembles the figure eight. Communication in this case is very important as during split the entire bee swarms can get exposed and is at the risk of getting attacked. They also have a typical way of communicating the ‘stop’ signal for suggesting the site for home has been decided and the hunting should be stopped. This communication automatically stops the bee swarm to further keep on hunting and all the bees focus on one site. The pre-decided bees leave the hive and when they move together in group towards their new home the bee swarm looks incredible.
Generally speaking, bee swarm is very much favorable to maintain balance in ecosystem and should never be disturbed. But in certain cases when these bee swarms are formed at undesirable places such as the walls of home, there is no option but to remove them. While removing the bee swarm the person should cover all his face, head, eyes and body to protect from sting. Methods like building fire near the hive should be used so that the bees fly away instead of getting killed. Once the bees have gone, the honey and combs should be taken out as it may attract flies, insects and rodents. The wax will also start melting and hence the leftover cavity should also be removed or else it might attract other bee swarm.