One of the first projects we started here at the farm was to get set up with some bee hives. A local beekeeper friend was selling her hives, there was a local course happening in the spring and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dive in. Now of course things don't always go as planned, the bees arrived just fine, but the beekeeping course was cancelled at the last minute and suddenly we were "beekeepers" armed with only the knowledge we'd gleaned from a few books and a days worth of experience helping a friend in her bee yard.
But so far so good. It turns our bees are pretty self sufficient and really don't need a lot. So we're learning as we go and the hive seems to be building up well. So quickly in fact, that they appear to be preparing to swarm already.
Queen Cells at Windswept Apiary
Supersedure Cells at Windswept Apiary
Swarming is a migration that bees undertake in late May through June, when they have deemed that the colony is too large for its current location. First the bees will form queen cells in order to produce a new queen to replace the one who is preparing to leave the hive with the rest of the colony. Then the original queen leaves the hive with most of the colony to find another location to hive. When the new queen emerges and is mated she will begin laying in the original hive and the bees will rest easy again.