Gathering a swarm
By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
One day the bees weren't there, the next day they were.
Don and Linda Helton discovered a swarm of bees Thursday clustered on a small branch of a blueberry bush in their back yard.
The two beekeepers they called had been collecting bees and had full hives, but Clyde Bruley came to the rescue Friday.
The swarm looked to be about two pounds, Bruley said. That translates into 10,000 to 11,000 bees.
The swarm is actually the bees' way of finding a new residence. When their hive gets full, the old queen leaves and half the colony goes with her. The bees settle on a branch while scouts check out the area for a new place.
The outside of the swarm was alive as bees seemed to work their way toward the center. Several bees flew around near the swarm.
Bruley wasn't worried about being stung.
Getting the swarm into the hive took about half a second. Bruley placed the hive under the swarm, took the top off, then gave the branch a quick, hard bump. Almost the entire swarm fell into the hive, and Bruley quickly replaced the top.
Attracted by the scent, the stray bees entered the hive through an opening near the bottom. Bruley left the hive under the blueberry bush with plans to get it later. That gives the strays a chance to get into the hive.
Bruley said these were Italian bees which are the most popular type of honey bee. They are yellow in color and relatively gentle.