Queen Betty is gone, we think

March 17, 2009 | By | Comments (3)

I was out in the Sunset gardens this morning shooting some flowers and plants for the magazine.  I got a frantic call on my cell phone from Margaret.

“Where ARE you!? One of our hives is swarming!!!”

Swarm_cluster_2I grabbed the camera, ran as fast as I could (with the huge camera and tripod slowing me down) to the bee yard.  Sure enough, bees were everywhere!  Most in the oak tree just above the hives.  We could see a ball of bees, just barely, through the branches, about 30 feet up. Too obstructed to get a good photograph.

There was a smaller cluster at Betty’s entrance that makes us think it was Betty who abandoned the hive.

We watched them in awe, doing their little bee thing. Thousands of bees flying all around our unprotected heads (there was no time to grab veils!), pooing on our clean shirts (we don’t mind). It was all over within 45 minutes. Amazing.

We think we still have bees left in Betty’s old hive— With a new queen? We want to inspect as soon as we can, but have been advised to leave the new queen (or whoever is in there) alone for a few weeks.  Sigh…

More from Margaret to come later this week.  Exciting stuff around the bee yard!


By Kimberley Burch, Sunset imaging specialist


  1. Sunset

    Hi Kat,
    No, I don’t think we need to worry about CCD. This is classic swarm behavior, and it’s definitely swarm season.

    March 19, 2009 at 1:23 am
  2. tina k

    Yep, we had one of ours swarm yesterday as well. I found it just over the fence. I’ll bet you have a new queen in there, don’t worry. Maybe you need to put up a swarm trap. Too bad Betty went up so high!

    March 18, 2009 at 8:54 pm
  3. Kat

    Hopefully it’s a new queen and not the spreading colony collapse disorder. Keep us posted.

    March 18, 2009 at 6:58 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s