This week, the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) staff and student interns experienced the natural phenomenon of bee swarming. “It was awesome watching nature in action”, Manih Boyd, student and Administrative Assistant stated after watching the bee swarm fly towards the wooded area behind the campus.
Swarming occurs when a new bee colony if formed. The queen bee leaves the colony with a large number of worker bees. Approximately 60 percent of the worker bees join the queen to leave the hive. Swarming usually happens in the spring and is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies.
As part of a summer project, the Place-based Opportunities for Sustainable Outcomes and High Hopes (POSOH) students, a cohort group comprised of high school students and student interns, put up a bluebird house near the SDI garden. About two hours after the birdhouse was up, the students noticed an extremely large amount of bees clinging to the birdhouse. For the next 24 hours scout bees flew looking for a new location for the swarm to live. Upon finding an appropriate spot, they came back to the swarm and perform a dance to indicate direction and distance to the new location. Once a new spot had been agreed upon by the swarm, they flew to the new area.