Catching swarms is magical!
I just love when I get the first swarm call in springtime (which is usually late February here in Central Texas) and it’s a hoot to run around catching swarms all spring.
But what is a swarm?
It’s an important part of the honey bee’s reproductive cycle. When a hive is strong enough and has enough stores or is anticipating the spring nectar flow, they will make a new queen. And before that new queen emerges, the old queen then flies off with about half the colony and looks for a new place to live.
Before the bees find that perfect spot, though, they’ll usually gather somewhere temporarily in what is called a “bivouac” – usually on the branch of a tree or on a wall … sometimes even on the ground. From there, the bees send out scouts to look for an appropriate cavity to call home.
The bees might hang in their bivouac for just a few hours or days until they find a suitable place, and that’s the perfect opportunity for a beekeeper to capture them – in fact, the bees usually come quite willing if offered right environment, like a bee box with drawn-out honeycomb.
I catch swarms in a wide radius around New Braunfels, Texas. If you run into one, give me a holler!