Today some of my bees swarmed! It was just a little swarm, the size of a grapefruit once they bunched together in a tree next to the hives. It's uncommon for bees to swarm at this time of the year, so late in the season. But mine did. It's the first time I've had a swarm from my hives....
That dark clump in the middle under the grapevine leaves is a swarm of bees.
Here's a close-up with my 210mm lens. In the centre of that ball of bees is a queen. While still in the hive, they made a new queen. One queen flies off with the bees, one stays behind in the hive.
Poor little things don't have much hope of making it. It's very late in the season and there's not enough time for them to build up adequate stores of honey before winter. I asked my beekeeping friend Pierre for advice and he said just to let them be. There's not a whole lot I can do for them; I could catch them and put them in a small nuc hive, but from what I understand, it's dubious they'll make it through winter.
I'm sorry to lose these bees but it was pretty cool watching them congregate around the queen. I checked and they were still in the tree at dinnertime. They send out scout bees to look for a new location for their hive (like a hollow tree), and this can take up to 48 hours. They have enough honey in their "honey stomachs" to last them a week. After that, they will starve if they haven't found a new home.
I'm inspecting all the hives this weekend, so we'll see what's going on then!