Look closely just above the trees. Can you see the thousands of tiny little black dots? That’s the first swarm of the season. Today I was checking one of Carmel Lavender apiaries. The weather has been unusually warm. The temp in the apiary read 92. That’s crazy February weather. And the warm weather has kept up for quite a few days. The activity at the hives have been busy. But today I heard a sound that was beyond busy bees. It was a swarm.
I started looking in the trees and sky to find the source. And sure enough, one of my hives was amassing in a tree.
Beekeepers generally don’t like their colonies swarming.
While it indicates a strong colony, and is technically the birth of a brand new colony, a very good thing, we still mourn our own loss of the better part of our strong hive. This means a weaker colony for the approaching season, as the remaining bees must rebuild their numeric strength. And fewer bees means less honey.
Under normal times, I’d be looking for signs of swarming in March. But with talk of mega-drought, these are obviously not normal times. As I watched my bees fly away, I wondered what’s a beekeeper to do. The unpredictability in weather is causing even more unpredictability in an already difficult profession.
We’ll have to keep a close eye, and like the bees, try to adapt to the changes. For us humans, that can sometimes be a challenge.