Thursday, 8 March 2018

Orphan bees

We had a bee swarm visit us!

On Saturday 3 March a friendly swarm of honey bees decided to visit.  They flew in and created an impressive and frantic swarm, then they settled on one of our fruit trees.  At first there were plenty of bees flying here and there and getting caught in spider webs and things.  After a little while they calmed down and politely waited while the scout bees were looking for a more permanent home.

Being Autumn I was a little surprised to see them.  As you can see, they settled into a friendly little clump.  Over the next few hours I grew fond of them and decided to quickly pull together a hive in which to keep them, and planned on building something better later.

Unfortunately the swarm had other ideas, and they left.

I miss my little bee swarm.

All that was left behind from the lovely bee swarm was a tennis ball sized clump of orphan bees who did not know where the swarm had gone.  I have worked with bees in the past a little, they normally follow some rigid rules and it is pretty easy to work out what they are likely to do next.  But without a queen I am not sure what the rules are, to be honest I am not sure if the orphan bees knew what the rules were either.  I felt sorry for the orphan bees.

With no queen to maintain order these orphan bees grew increasingly aggressive.  They  started to buzz me even when I was nowhere near them and cause all kinds of trouble.  It appears that orphan bees get sad and angry and confused when they don't have anywhere to call home.

Those poor little orphan bees, it couldn't have been easy being left behind.  They stayed in the last place that they knew the queen had been.  In a few days they would likely starve, or they would die from exposure, I doubt any would have found their way to their new hive or been welcome to return to their old hive.

The orphan bees stayed for the night, then the next day, and that night, and they got more and more agitated as time went on.  So I had to get rid of the orphan bees before someone got hurt.  I feel really sad, but it wasn't going to end well if I left them there

Bee swarm with a few bees still in the air

My nice little swarm of bees

Bee swarm, nice and calm by now


  1. As a beekeeper, I'm concerned about what method you might have used to 'get rid' of them. Did you call a beekeeper to pick them up or did you destroy the swarm?

  2. Hi compsavvystu,

    I think I may have been unclear in my post. The swarm with the queen moved on by itself. I was only left with a dozen or so orphan bees (I didn't take a picture of them). No beekeeper was willing come out for such a small number of bees with no queen.