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Spring is swarm season. And this spring has been busy for Ryan. This year we have three hives down on Vida Verde Farm in the village of Los Ranchos, just north of Albuquerque. So far Ryan has caught three swarms down there over the past two weeks. They are most likely all from our own hives and we are lucky to have farmer Seth Matlick to thank for calling and notifying us.
When bees swarm they are incredibly docile. Their sole functions are to protect the queen and find a new home. When you see people wearing bees, I they're in a swarm state. If Ryan had found the queen in that ball and put her on his face, all the other ladies would have gently followed.
This one swarm was only about 10 feet up dangling on a tree branch. Spring is when bees do their thing to propagate their numbers. A healthy colony can be more than 100,000 bees. When it gets that large their instinct is to split. So they rear what is called a swarm queen (different from a supersedure queen). Normally the new queen will stay put, while the old queen takes half the colony and swarms to find a new home. It's really really cool stuff.
This cluster of ladies is now happily housed in a hive in our back yard.