When honey bees swarm, or congregate in a large group outside of their hive, this means that that colony may have produced a new queen. The new queen and half of the workers fill up on honey then leave the old colony looking for a suitable place to start their new colony. Contrary to popular misconceptions, swarms of honey bees (not to be confused with killer bees) are not dangerous at all, simply because they have no hive to defend. A swarm means a brand new colony, which in light of threats to honey bees like colony collapse disorder, is great news.
Here you'll see Jeff Bursey, our beekeeper at Science North placing a swarm we had just off of the 3rd floor last week into a new colony box, which he then brought out to his apiairy offsite. When this happens most of the workers follow the queen into the box, then the box can be moved.
If you ever stumble upon a swarm of honey bees, it is very neat to watch their behaviour, but of course I would not recommend harassing the bees. If you know of a beekeeper in your neighbourhood, you should contact them to relocate the swarm. If you don't know which beekeeper to contact, you can contact Bob Dewar (705-682-9449) or Pat Deforge (705-897-5519) from the Sudbury Beekeepers Club with swarm questions.
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