There are over 20,000 species of bees, but the best known come from the honey bee family. They can be found in all habitats that contain flowering plants, which means that they populate every continent on Earth, except for Antarctica. Due to the fact that bees feed on plant nectar and pollen, they play an important role in pollinating plants. They also produce honey for human consumption and beeswax, which has many important uses. One of the most interesting things about bees is the swarming behavior that often occurs around spring. If you have ever wondered why bees exhibit this swarming behavior continue reading to find out.
Why do bees swarm?
The reason that bees swarm is to create a new colony. This behavior allows the continued reproduction of bee colonies. A new colony is formed once the queen bee leaves her original colony. She is followed by about 60% of worker bees. The swarming process begins with scout bees who find a suitable location, close to the old colony, for the swarm to gather. The queen and the workers then leave the colony to swarm at this temporary location. From here scout bees begin searching for a location to house the new colony. The scout bees perform a dance to show the others which direction to travel in. The final location is determined by the level of excitement of the scout bees. Interestingly, more than one location may be chosen and the scout bees excited dancing may encourage other bees to visit their location and begin to dance excitedly as well. This selection process can take a few days, but it is very successful in finding the best site for the new colony.
Although it can appear threatening the swarming behavior of bees occurs during a less aggressive stage of the animals life cycle. However, you should never interrupt or disturb a swarm of bees. Beekeepers can be called in to remove a swarm if they are causing a problem.