by Diane Deming

My husband and I were working in the yard yesterday, and heard a loud buzzing or humming sound. When we looked up we saw thousands of bees flying around the top of a very tall tree. When the buzzing stopped in about a half hour, I retrieved the binoculars to get a closer look. About 40 feet up, most all of the bees were clustered on a large branch of the tree with many more just buzzing around and trying to land. This is called a bee swarm. It happens when the colony is looking for a new home. In the spring the queen bee leaves with a large group of worker bees to form a new colony. The swarm may settle just 20-30 meters away for a few days until scout bees return with information on suitable nesting sites for the new colony.

The way that honey bees communicate is especially interesting. For additional information on the fascinating life of a honey bee colony go to Swarming_(honey_bee).