Container Garden Chronicles: Save the swarms

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Honeybees are vital to our gardens.

The York County Beekeepers’ Association says on its website that it takes 10,000 bees to gather one pound of honey.

What’s more amazing is that, in order to make that one pound of honey, the bees need to visit 2 million flowers.

But bees aren’t just visiting the dandelions in our yards to gather nectar.

They are also pollinating our fruits, veggies and legumes in the process.

So we should probably return the favor.

YCBK president Julie Kurtz of Conewago Township said that now through the end of May is what is known as “Swarm Season.”

The YCBK website says that, when a new queen is born, the old queen and about half of the hive’s worker bees leave. These bees will then gather near the old hive — in a garage, on a mailbox or hanging from a tree limb — until they find a new home.

“It’s a phenomenal thing to see,” Kurtz said.

Though the large group of bees might look intimidating, Kurtz said that’s not the case.

“You’re very safe around a swarm. They don’t have a home, food or babies to protect, so they’re very docile.”

She said the bees should only stay in one place for a day or two before moving on. But she said this time is vital for local beekeepers. Rather than spraying the swarm and killing the bees on your property, Kurtz asks York County residents to get in touch with YCBK.

The association’s website offers a contact list of members who will come out and collect the swarm and place them into a new hive.

“We want to find them a good home,” Kurtz said.

April Trotter

Editor of Smart. NEPA transplant. Penn State and Shippensburg grad. Kickball and craft beer enthusiast. Collector of cardigans. "Bennie and the Jets" fanatic. Contact me at atrotter@ydr.com, at "Smart magazine" on Facebook, @SmartMagPA on Twitter or by phone at 717-771-2030.

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1 Response

  1. April 25, 2013

    […] Container Garden Chronicles: Save the swarm […]

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