Friday 28 November 2014

Homeowners' horror as colony of almost 18k bees attach to hanging basket

Emma Jane Hade

Published 25/06/2014 | 17:22

A bee keeper removes migrating bees from a hanging basket in the centre of Tullamore, Offaly watched on by Austin Connolly.  Picture: Jeff Harvey/HR Photo
A bee keeper removes migrating bees from a hanging basket in the centre of Tullamore, Offaly watched on by Austin Connolly
A bee keeper removes migrating bees from a hanging basket in the centre of Tullamore, Offaly watched on by Austin Connolly

Busy bees stirred up a hive of interest in Co Offaly yesterday when they went on the move in search of a new home.

This prime swarm, attached to a hanging basket at Bridge Lane in Tullamore, contained at least 17,500 bees.

Bees often move homes when their colony becomes "too big and cumbersome".

The queen bee then decides to move on with half of her former colony by enticing them along with her pheromone.

"Almost all bees reproduce every year," explained Eamon Magee, president of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers' Association.

"A colony in the wild subdivides in half, and there's only one queen in every colony. The old queen goes away with what you are seeing hanging on the basket there."

A standard hive can contain up to 35,000 bees and half of these travel in the newly formed swarm. Scout bees are then appointed to 'scout out' a new home.

"They are only waiting there for their scout bees to come back and tell them that there is a hole in the eaves of somebody's house," he said. "They are hanging out until the scouts return."

The Federation holds its conference in Gormanstown, Co Meath, next month.

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