As the days get longer and temperatures begin to rise, here at MVH we are performing our spring checks in preparation for a busy summer. Likewise, our bee friends are also preparing for a busy harvest season.
“This time of year the bees are focused on growing their numbers, with the queens increasing egg production,” says MVH co-owner Murray Elwood.
The number of bees per hive can double during spring in preparation for summer’s ideal harvesting conditions.
Spring in 2019
“Spring this year has been a little challenging for our bees, with cooler temperatures and a lot of wet weather making life hard for them,” says Murray Elwood
Bees stay in their hives while it’s raining. When it’s windy bees will stay closer to the ground and stay closer to the hive then normal.
In spring, worker bees collect nectar and pollen to support hive growth. Therefore good weather is important for their survival.
As the bee numbers grow in each hive, we need to be conscious of overcrowding. When hives are overcrowded, there is a possibility of swarming where around half the colony, along with their queen, will leave the hive in search of more space.
After leaving the hive, the queen will find somewhere to land temporarily while scouts go out in search of a new home. The remaining bees will surround the queen in large swarms – where they may stay for minutes or days. Once the scouts find an ideal location, the entire cluster of bees flies to the new site in a large buzzing mass.
Our friends at NOKNOK happened to find a swarm of bees in their backyard a few weeks ago and managed to capture this close up footage. Isn’t it mesmerising?
What should you do if you find a swarm?
Firstly, don’t get too close or aggravate the swarm. They shouldn’t be aggressive because they are focused on finding a home rather than protecting their home.
Chances are they will move on themselves, but for urgent attention, you should contact a local beekeeper.
To find a local beekeeper in New Zealand check out the website: https://apinz.org.nz/swarm-collection/