P90609They were impossible to miss. They came at a weird time too.
As guests were arriving for a big event, a fire alarm was activated, and compelled everyone to leave the building that they were gathering in. The swarming bees met the guests as they came outside. The bees just happened to show up in the same place and at the same time as the guests were forced outside. Fortunately, no one seemed to mind, and some found the swarming bees to be compelling enough to stop and take pictures.
Initially, all the bees were flying in a big swarm. Those closest to the middle of the swarm were flying fast, sort of like angry wasps. No one saw the queen that the swarm was centered around, but she apparently landed on this redwood limb about forty feet up. The swarming bees slowly collected in this mass around the queen. By the time I took this picture, almost all were attached to the mass, with only a few still flying about.
At least three swarms started to establish new hives in buildings near here last year, and needed to be removed by beekeepers. One hive started to develop where another had just been removed. Another swarm was removed before establishing a new hive.
Bees seem to be attracted here. Perhaps they appreciate all the flowers in the landscapes. It is unfortunate that they can not stay where they typically try to move in. Most of us really like them.
This swarm was still here when I left, so I do not know what happened to it afterward. Hopefully, it either left the area, or at least moved into a place where it will not be problem, such as in a rotten tree trunk out in the forest where bees belong.

 

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6 thoughts on “A Bee See

  1. The only swarm I’ve ever seen set up shop on the bimini of a sailboat in a marina. It was huge, and a huge attraction, and was moved to a more suitable location by a beekeeper. They certainly are something to see!

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    1. We have had a few here. Several have also shown up at the home of my colleague, Brent, in the Los Angeles region. I sort of suspect that they come to his home because the landscape is the most inviting place around.

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  2. If I might quibble with one minor point. Bees certainly belong in a forest but they also belong almost everywhere else too, especially the many wild bee varieties. We need to provide suitable homes for swarms in urban areas as not many urban area trees are going to have nice bee home holes in them. Our buildings are a substitute. Urban beekeeping is a growing trend as bees generally go about their work no more noticed than other insects.

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    1. These were not the native bees, but the naturalized honeybees that were imported to San Jose from Paraguay a very long time ago. (I do not know how they got to Paraguay.) There are many more of them, as well as the native bees, than there have ever been, partly because there is so much more flora here than there has ever been. The Santa Clara Valley was naturally a relatively empty chaparral. Honeybees proliferated and were well managed in the orchards that were here for so long, and adapted somewhat as the orchards were replaces with urbanization. Even though there are not many homes for them now, they are still much more abundant they naturally were.

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