Ascertaining the most likely place the queen will be, within the swarm cluster.
Ascertaining the most likely place the queen will be, within the cluster. If the queen does not get collected the swarm will leave the collection box.

airport, ‘the’ busiest airport on our planet, a hive of activity, where a huge number of people and synchronised process’s come together in harmony, providing millions of us the means to travel great distances, for that welcome holiday or even for business, etc.

, those lovely little creatures that work hard, produce honey and help many of our food crops.

Part of their natural life-cycle, honeybees swarm when they run out of room in their current home, also to increase colony numbers.
Swarming occurs in late spring early summer, the old queen departs the beehive with a significant number of worker , in many cases, more than ten thousand bees.

So what happens, when the world’s busiest airport meets a swarm of over ten thousand honeybees?

Given the importance of honeybees (Also all other insect pollinators) it is so very reassuring that Heathrow Airports Limited preference is to move and save a swarm rather than just exterminate them.

Collecting the core of the swarm on a beehive frame, this is where we suspect the queen will be located.
Collecting the core of the bee swarm on a beehive frame, this is where we suspect the queen will be located. As we do not know the origin of the swarm, putting the hood up on the bee suit is purely a precaution.

As the images attest, the bees were very calm and non-aggressive, we hear many times a description of bees in a swarm looking angry, this misunderstanding is courtesy of Hollywood, western are in general gentle creatures.

The bees are still buzzing around, some are on the suit on my hands but they are not aggressive, merely curious.
The bees are still buzzing around, some are crawling on the bee suit and on my hands, they are not aggressive, merely curious.

 

When honeybees are swarming, they do not have any brood (Young) to protect, they are on a mission, to find a new home, and the clock is ticking.
Always ensure you contact your local association swarm co-ordinator or go here to find a local swarm co-ordinator.

After the main body of the swarm had been collected, we came across a rare glimpse of a worker bee scout performing a waggle dance.

Many of you may have heard of the waggle dance, in the context of a returning forager bee sharing the location of good nectar or pollen foraging.
In this case, this waggle dance was from a worker bee scout, specifically sharing directions to a potential new home, this is not caught on camera often.

Note that due to the glare of the sun on the screen, it was difficult to follow the waggling bee, she waggles offscreen between 7 and 15 seconds, but you can clearly see the attention she is receiving from the other bees.

 

 

 

 

 

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