Swarming

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May and June is a fertile time for bees. The weather is warm and humid, nature literally smells of flowering trees, fields and flowers and there is no shortage of nectar. At this time, the instinct of reproduction makes itself felt – the bees have a “marriage time”.

In late April and early May, the hive begins preparing for the continuation of the genus. Bee womb lays the same eggs, but one of them hatch: a new queen, male bees or simple bees – depends on the worker bees, on what cell the egg is laid and what the larvae will be fed by worker bees.

Working bees create premature rounded honeycomb-cradles for future queens and larger honeycombs for male bees in advance. The decisive importance for the future of the growing larvae is nutrition. Larvae of worker bees in the early days receive “royal milk” – a high-nutrient mixture. Over time, the food of these larvae becomes more rough: they receive an additive in the form of honey and pollen. Larvae of future queens receive only royal jelly. And in much more than workers bees. However, the decisive factor for the development of the bee womb is the biologically active substance that the bees-nurses allocate and which they add to the fodder of only future bee-queens. We still do not know the chemical composition of this substance.

The situation is different with male bees. Whether the bee or the male bee will come out of the egg depends on the bee womb at the time of the egg’s laying, from whether the bee womb will lay a fertilized or not fertilized egg in the cell. Yes, yes, the bee queen can choose this herself!

In due time, large dwarfs leave male bees. They do not show the slightest interest in the bee womb of the hive in which they were born. To search for the queen, they fly away from the hive. But this is the topic of a separate story – the marriage of bees.

And what happens in the hive when it’s time to leave the new queen? About a week before the new bee womb should leave the family is swarming. The activity of the bees is markedly reduced; in the beehive the bees are sitting in dense piles. Suddenly they fly out of the hive and in a violent whirlwind, whirling and colliding with each other a cloud circle over it. Approximately half of the bees and the old bee womb leave the hive and sit on a tree branch or something suitable. While the hive is flying out, the scout bees are actively looking for a suitable place for a new home: a hollow in the tree, a comfortable cleft or an abandoned and empty hive on the nearest apiary.

At this time in the old hive from the cell comes a new queen. A single bee womb is enough for a hive, but they are grown from a half dozen. Nature is not peculiar to sentimentality, only one will win, the first one out of the cell, the rest are doomed to death. A new bee womb or worker bees kill the rest.

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