What We Can Learn From The Bees In The Wall

I’ve been thinking about swarms lately. Obsessing, really.

I know it’s because my Buckfast bees came through our mild winter exceptionally well. They are breeding and foraging at a record pace. I’m worried that some of them are going to pack their honey bags and leave the hive. And me. I couldn’t bear it.

I’ve been keeping bees for six years now, and I’ve never experienced a swarm.  (I did negligently instigate a fatal robbing situation. I’m still recovering…)

I know Buckies aren’t the swarming kind, but I’ve ordered a package of Italians, and they are notorious for their swarmitude.

So I’ve been reading a lot on the subject, and I’ve gotten myself into a lather. Should I checkerboard? How about splitting? How about just adding a few more supers on the top?

Then I started thinking about those stories of bees in the wall.  No, they’re not urban myths. Bees take up residence in the space between inner and outer walls of houses and just go to town.

Bees in a Wall

It doesn’t look like swarming is a problem for those unfortunate folks with bees in their walls. Why??

Tomorrow I will share my very unscientific theory about why bees in the wall don’t swarm…

8 thoughts on “What We Can Learn From The Bees In The Wall

  1. Emily Heath says:

    It’s great that your buckies are doing so well! Could it be that the wall bees do swarm but no-one notices because half the colony is left behind and they have no beekeeper peering in and interfering?

  2. Rusty says:

    I think bees in a wall swarm as often as others. From the outside of a hive, I can’t usually tell if one of my colonies swarmed or not–I really have to look inside to see the difference. Since we usually don’t look inside a wall colony, I just assume they swarm and we don’t notice.

    We would notice absconding, of course. But swarming is harder to call.

  3. This discussion has helped me come to terms with swarming as a natural phenomenon versus absconding which is not so natural. I’m not obsessing any more. Many thanks to Emily and Rusty,, my gal pals in beekeeping !! 🙂

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