Memo: Swarm planned for next spring (by Cindy Brown, Apprentice Beekeeper)

Memorandum

TO:         All bee residents of our hive

FROM:  Swarm communications center

DATE:    Some time this spring or summer between May-August

RE:          Planned swarm

Ok, everyone…we’re getting ready for our planned swarm.  We’ve got this all planned out, we know what we’re doing, it is very organized.  Our motto will be KEEP CALM AND SWARM ON.  You can pick up your swarm t-shirt near the entrance of the hive. 

Our Queen has been doing a great job laying eggs and increasing our numbers, because it’s getting crowded here in our amazingly healthy hive.

We’ve collectively decided it’s time for half of us to swarm with our Queen and move out into the world for a new home.  Remember this is a normal part of our hive’s life. 

Those of you who will be going need to get ready by eating lots of that sweet stuff to store in your honey stomach.  That’s how we bees pack for our big trip. 

Right now, we’ve been sending out hundreds and hundreds of female scouts.  They have been tasked with looking for our new location;  it will be within a five mile radius of our current hive. 

When a scout is satisfied she’s found a good location, get ready..when she comes back to the hive– it’s dancing  time!  Check out her moves, she’ll tell us all where our new home is.  The more awesome her moves, the more awesome the location is!   More scouts will join her, maybe some will suggest different locations.  It’s gonna look like Studio 54 and a dance contest.  We’ll decide on which location based on the best dances. 

Keep your ears open, because when you hear the scouts’ piping sounds you need to get ready and warm up your flight muscles, we’re leaving soon.

The plan is that the scout will do a quick buzz run, then our Queen will leave the hive, taking about half of us with her.  Get ready to hustle, because we’re outta there in less than 60 seconds. 

She’ll fly to a spot not too far away and those with her will gather around her, forming a cluster.  Usually, you’ll be hanging from a tree branch, but sometimes you’ll end up on a picnic table or another nearby object. 

Make sure to give your support to our Queen; it’s a real sacrifice for her to leave the hive and let her younger, inexperienced daughter queen remain in the established hive.  Please sign the card in the nectar area and make a donation toward her gift. 

You who remain will stay behind in this current home will make yourselves a new Queen.  Have fun, we know you’ll do a great job and make us proud. 

Written by Cindy Brown, Apprentice Beekeeper, OSU Extension, Moro, Oregon

Thank you, Cindy!

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