I was taking my usual lunchtime walk on campus the other day when I came across this beside the sidewalk:
Sure enough, I made my way closer and there was a huge swarm of honeybees in the tree!
So many questions are swirling in my head: Why did they choose that particular tree, out of all the millions of objects in the world? Why did they choose that spot in the tree? I couldn’t see if there was a hollow in the tree or not because there were so many bees!
Although my specialty is bumblebees, what I do know about honeybees is that they swarm when they are going to form a new colony. Somewhere in that mass of bees is a queen.
A big difference between bumblebees and honeybees is that a bumblebee colony has several hundred worker bees, whereas a honeybee colony has thousands of worker bees. When a honeybee colony starts to get too big, queen eggs are laid and the old queen takes off with a group of the workers, in order to continue her colony somewhere else.
How do they know where to go? How is is that thousands of bees are coordinated to fly to the same place? It’s all pretty spectacular if you ask me.
Are the honeybees going to stay on the tree, or are they going to find another place to start a new home? I hope they’re going to be okay, because it’s going to be chilly overnight…
Time to do some reading on honeybee swarming! And I’ll have to walk by the tree again to see how they’re doing.