The bees at Westlake Apiaries are a combination of stock purchased from Arizona and California, mixed with local survivor bees. Most of the bees have been collected from swarms in and around Larimer county. Bees that swarmed locally have shown their ability to thrive in Colorado’s climate. Using survivor stock is also part of the solution to the many problems that plague bees today. by consistently selecting survivor stock some beekeepers hope to encourage strains of bees that are resistant to parasites and disease.
Healthy colonies will swarm in the spring. As the weather gets warmer and the first nectar and pollen are available from spring flowers colonies grow in number. When the colony grows to the bursting point the workers will raise a new queen. Once she has emerged and mated the old queen will leave. She will take a large portion of the population with her to start a new colony. When they leave they will fly a short distance from the mother colony and then cluster together on a branch or other protected place while the scouts look for a good place to call home. This is a race against time, as they only have the food in their bellies to hold them until they get their new home set up. When bees are swarming not only are they in a race against time they also don’t have a home to defend. Because of this they are usually very docile. Once they have established their new home somewhere then they become more defensive.
Bees like dry enclosed spaces to make their homes. An old tree trunk is ideal but so is an empty wall space or eave. Once established a colony can grow to 50,000+ members in a season. So you certainly don’t want them to set up housekeeping in you shed or attic. If you see a swarm in your tree or under the eave of your house call a beekeeper to have them removed. Most beekeepers will remove them for free, if you haven’t sprayed them with something. Even squirting them with water can kill the queen and ruin the colony. Instead call a beekeeper right away so that they can catch them before they find a place, like in your shed or walls to set up shop.
We have colonies in Loveland and Fort Collins, in our backyard and in the yards of friends and neighbors. Soon we will have hives scattered thorough Larimer county and extending into Weld county. If you live in Loveland and you find a swarm of bees in your yard drop us an email and we’ll come and remove it for you.