It’s an awe inspiring sight—a cloud of honey bees swarms into your yard and settles on a tree branch. The mass of bees may be as small as a grapefruit or as large as a basketball. After a period of time that can vary from fifteen minutes to three days, the entire swarm takes to the air.
Swarm season starts in early May. Swarming bees are usually docile and will not sting unless provoked. Leave them alone. Never spray them with a garden hose or pesticides. When threatened, the bees will release an alarm pheromone which may result in you getting stung. If you find a swarm, call a beekeeper. The Steuben County Honeybee Association has a swarm hotline: call 607-566-8558 or 607-661-7092. We will try to find a beekeeper in your area to capture the swarm and put it in a beehive.
SCHBA meets the second Monday of the month. Our first meeting of 2018 is March 12th, at 7:30 PM at Lakeview Apartments in Bath.
We will discuss what to expect and do in April to assist the bees to prosper. We'll also talk about how to tell when honey is ripe and I'll bring my refractometer. If you are curious about your honey, bring a sample(a drop is plenty) and we can check it.
My theme for this year comes from G.M. Doolittle, who died 100 years ago this June. He was one of the greatest beekeepers and teachers of his time. New beekeepers, paste this in your hat—
"Any one of ordinary ability can build a quart of bees up to 90,000 in six weeks, with a June temperature. If any one will give us a quart of bees in a hive on an average, the 10th of May, we will ask for nothing better."
If it's your first visit, feel free to email me for directions. Be sure to park in the visitor parking area which is the row farthest from the building. We're in the conference room- walk through the door in the center section, just to the right of the fountain, straight through the second door and turn right. All beekeepers, from beginners to veterans are welcome! Bring your questions.