For about five years, the meadow in front of the Lyndon Visitor Centre has been home to several bee hives. These hives accommodate our resident honey bee colonies, who are usually fairly fruitful with their production of honey. We often see some interesting bee behaviour and activity around the hives, including the occasional swarm. Swarming is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies, and occurs when the queen bee leaves the prime colony to form a new one. She will be followed by a large group of worker bees, usually around 60%. The swarm can contain tens of thousands of bees, who then form the new colony.
Today, we witnessed this occurrence from one of our hives. There was a huge number of bees moving together in one bunch, and they gathered in a clump at the top of a hawthorn tree near Teal Hide. Swarms such as this may stay grouped together in this way for a considerable length of time, until they eventually disperse to find their new home. We have been in contact with our beekeeper, who will be assisting this particular bee swarm in their quest to find a new home – one of his hives!
Thank you to Paul Stammers for these excellent photographs of the swarm.