You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘casting swarms’ tag.


What is the purpose of a colony of bees?

Pollination? Wrong.

A swarm of bees marches into its new home after being dropped from a tree.

A swarm of bees marches into its new home after being dropped from a tree.

Bees do this by accident. They don’t realize how much they’re helping humans and wouldn’t care if they did.

Making honey? Wrong.

Bees make honey because this is a stable food source. The fact that humans like honey is again irrelevant to the bees.

Bees are like any other wild animal. They exist for two reasons: to survive and to reproduce.

Except that, in the case of honeybees, most of them don’t reproduce. They are part of a colony, and the colony tries to survive and to reproduce.

Which brings us to “casting swarms.”

I don’t recall ever coming across that term until veteran beekeeper Jim Tew used it in a presentation to the Blount County Beekeepers Association meeting in August. Jim said then that bees will try to survive until they can find a suitable place to live — a good hollow tree or something like that — and “cast a few swarms.”

The term popped up again when I was reading Thomas Seeley’s Honeybee Democracy, a fascinating book that is built around Seeley’s decades of study of swarming behavior.

In upstate New York, where I live, my colonies begin sending forth their drones in late April, and they begin casting their swarms . . . a week or two later in early May. (p. 35)

* * * 

An enduring mystery about honeybees is what exactly stimulates a colony to begin rearing queens and thereby initiate the process of swarming. Beekeepers know that certain conditions inside a colony’s hive (congestion of the adult bees, numerous immature bees, and expanding food reserves) and outside the hive (plentiful forage and spring time) are correlated with the start of queen rearing for swarming. Nevertheless, to this day, no one knows what specific stimuli the worker bees are sensing and integrating when they make the critical decision to start the swarming process. (p. 36) (quoted material)

Swarming is what bees do. It’s one of their basic purposes. As good beekeepers, we should let them do it.

Related articles

Jim Tew describes the inside of a feral beehive

Tew: the natural hive is not a ‘permanent’ home for bees

A different view of swarms

 

Key words: bees, beekeeping, casting swarms, pollination, Thomas Seeley, Honeybee Democracy, swarming, honey

 

Advertisements

What’s the inside of a natural beehive like? According to beekeeping expert, it’s quite different from the hives that we construct for our bees.

In the video below, Tew draws out the comparison.

Tew spoke to the Blount County Beekeepers Association  on Aug. 11, 2014), and the five-minute video segment below is part of one of his presentations.

Tew talked about the many differences between places where the bees make their own home and the boxes that we build for them. For instance:

  • Ventilation in a natural hive can be almost non-existent.
  • The old, dark comb is like a human live, absorbing toxic chemical and other substance.
  • Old comb can hold moisture to be released when it is needed by the bees.
  • A “bottom eco-system” exists under the nest — something we completely eliminate in our Langstroth hives.
  • Seeing drones in hard winter “is not a mistake.” Are the bees making a genetic contribution to the environment?

 

x

Read the rest of this entry »


Bees build hives in trees and elsewhere without the thought that this will be their “permanent” home, according to beekeeping expert Jim Tew.

Tew spoke to the Blount County Beekeepers Association August meeting on Aug. 11. One of his presentations concerned why colonies are “stressed,” and in explaining that he talked about what happens when bees build their own hives.

This five-minute video shows that part of the presentation:

x

x

Tew made the following points:

Read the rest of this entry »

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 258 other followers

Blount County Beekeepers Association

Join us

If you’re interested in joining the Blount County Beekeepers Association, call

Dale Hinkle
423-261- 5234

or

Kathy Flaherty
203-314- 0270

Welcome

Welcome to the web site of the Blount County Beekeepers Association in Maryville, Tennessee.

This site will tell you a little about the association and how to become a member. It will also tell you a little about beekeeping.

Bees are an important part of our environment and particularly our agricultural system. They are also fascinating creatures.

We hope you will be interested enough to join us at some point, even if you're not interested in keeping bees. There are lots of ways you can join in with what we do.

Follow us on Twitter at @blountbees.

Schedule of BCBA meetings for 2019

The Blount County Beekeepers Association meets on the second Monday of every month, except for September and December, at 6:30 p.m. at the Maryville Church of Christ, 611 Sherwood Drive in Maryville.

All of the meetings are open to the public, and anyone interested in learning more about beekeeping is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The following is the schedule of meetings and activities for 2018:

January 14 – regular meeting

February 11 – regular meeting

February 16 – BCBA short course for new beekeepers

TBA– New Beekeepers class

March 11 – regular meeting

March 17 -Wooden Ware class

April 8 – regular meeting

April  TBA-Field Day for new beekeepers

May 13 – regular meeting

June 10 – regular meeting

July 8 – regular meeting

August 12 – regular meeting

October 14 – regular meeting

November 11 – regular meeting

December 9 – Christmas dinner

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: