Honeybee swarm

Title Info
Common name Honeybee
Scientific name Apis mellifera
Taxonomic group Apidae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Behavior Social; Nesting
Organisms Animals
Animals Insects
Location Newton,Massachusetts,USA,North America
Honeybee swarm, Massachusetts, USA
Related materials: Honeybees

Honeybee swarm, waiting to move to a new home. When a honeybee colony grows to contain approximately 15,000-30,000 workers, if the season and environmental conditions are right, the colony may reproduce by splitting. Inhibitions on the rearing of new queens get lifted, and several young queens are reared. Typically, only one of these survives (the first to emerge may sting and kill the others before they leave the cells in which they were reared, or if multiple queens emerge at about the same time, they will fight to the death). The surviving young queen leaves the nest on a nuptial flight, mates, and returns to inherit the nest, its stored honey, and approximately one-third of the workers. Meanwhile, sometime during this period the old queen has left the nest with the other two-thirds of the workers. This swarm typically gathers on a branch where it waits calmly for days, as shown in this image. Scout bees scour the neighborhood looking for a large cavity in which to nest, typically one approximately 4-20 gallons (15-80 liters) in volume. As scouts find potential nest sites, they return and dance on the surface of the swarm, much as they would dance to report a food source. Once there is a reasonably good consensus among the scouts as to which is the best site, the scouts move through the swarm emitting high pitched sounds that tell their sisters to warm up, so they can take off for their new home. Finally, consider the investment that the honeybee colony makes in a young queen, the thousands of workers plus the nest and stored honey, and compare it with the investment ant and termite colonies make in their young queens--just the energy and protein that goes into creating the queen?s body.