Wild Bee Swarm

We all know that bears like honey. Winnie the Pooh was addicted to the stuff. Bears get their honey from wild bee hives or by raiding a bee keepers’ hive. Bee keepers can protect their hives from bears by surrounding them with electric fencing.

Wild bees live in hollow trees. From time to time the hive will develop a new queen bee which will then take about half of the hive with her when she decides to relocate, leaving the others behind. She takes off in search of a new home and the bees follow her. When she stops the hive swarms around the queen to protect her. It can be a disconcerting sight to see a swarm of bees making a beeline for a new place to live! The above photo was taken at a camp site in Pearrygin Lake State Park near Winthrop in the Methow Valley. Fortunately no bears were following this swarm. Normally honey bees are somewhat docile when they swarm, but the best action is to remain cautious and stay away from them. 

A local bee keeper with the proper safety equipment was called in by the park ranger to remove the hive. He placed a box below the swarm and shook the tree causing the queen to fall onto the top of the box. All the other bees followed her into the box. The bees had a new home and the keeper got a new hive.