When was the first time you saw a swarm?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Palos Verdes, CA, USA
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    1,214

    Default When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    I've posted a couple of annual PSAs and swarm capture videos on Nextdoor.com, so I get a few dozen swarm calls every spring. But recently I realized I'd never seen a swarm until I started keeping bees 6 years ago. I now live very close to where I grew up (2.5 miles, as the bee flies) so it's not a change of location.

    Given the general hysteria I observe when lay people see a swarm, I'm amazed that I never saw or even heard of a swarm when I was a kid.

    When was the first time you ever saw a swarm? If it was before you knew about beekeeping, what was your reaction?
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    3,763

    Default Re: When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    Waterbug, strange question in a way but true. I am 58 and last year was the first time I ever saw a free hanging swarm. One of my own. Weird, huh?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Lumpkin County, GA
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    853

    Default Re: When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    I was about 10 years old (50 yrs ago), living in IL. There was a swarm in a birch tree and my brothers and I were throwing a basketball at it to make the bees fall to the ground.
    Is was a huge swarm and wished I kept bees back then because it would have filled 2 boxes.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    1,490

    Default Re: When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    My grandma knew where a bee tree was and wed stop and look at it during the summer months, a large white pine. We were there when a swarm was either lighting or issuing from it, the tree was covered w/ bees. I was probably about 7 or so, the pines still standing, and its a coon hole now.
    Rod

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    557

    Default Re: When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    One of my neighbors had a swarm 10-15 years ago that I saw. He pointed it out since it was from his hive, and it was 30 feet up in a tree.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Triadelphia, West Virginia
    Posts
    580

    Default

    I was in my early 20's kayaking and fishing in Ohio. Came around a bend in the creek and heard a loud buzzing sound. It was a swarm hanging low on a branch on the creek bank. We stopped and watched it for a long time. It's the reason I became beekeeper. I was amazed and mesmerized by it. Took another 20 years to get my own bees but that day is what started my beekeeping journey.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Rib Lake WI
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    1,705

    Default Re: When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    First time I saw a swarm was from my own hive 40 some years ago the next was about 25 years ago that was from a neighbors. never seen a wild hive around here.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
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    684

    Default Re: When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    I was about 10 years old. Back then I spent my summer days at the Umatilla river. One day we heard a loud buzz and watched a large swarm flying and swirling around just over our heads and flew away. That is the only one I have found on my own, and it flew away rather than land somewhere.
    -- Joe
    "Make your own decision and embrace the consequences." -- jwcarlson

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Palos Verdes, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,214

    Default Re: When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericweller View Post
    I was about 10 years old (50 yrs ago), living in IL. There was a swarm in a birch tree and my brothers and I were throwing a basketball at it to make the bees fall to the ground.
    Is was a huge swarm and wished I kept bees back then because it would have filled 2 boxes.
    Amazing what we survived as kids, no?

    Quote Originally Posted by lemmje View Post
    I was about 10 years old. Back then I spent my summer days at the Umatilla river. One day we heard a loud buzz and watched a large swarm flying and swirling around just over our heads and flew away. That is the only one I have found on my own, and it flew away rather than land somewhere.
    Quote Originally Posted by mcon672 View Post
    I was in my early 20's kayaking and fishing in Ohio. Came around a bend in the creek and heard a loud buzzing sound. It was a swarm hanging low on a branch on the creek bank. We stopped and watched it for a long time. It's the reason I became beekeeper. I was amazed and mesmerized by it. Took another 20 years to get my own bees but that day is what started my beekeeping journey.
    Did you two understand what you were seeing when you were seeing it?

    The first time I watched my first hive swarming, my mind went so blank that I didn't understand what I was seeing until afterward. I'd only been keeping bees for a couple of months, and although I'd read the words in the books, the reality of the situation was mindblowing for a newbee. I'm surprised that I didn't catch a dozen bees in my gaping mouth.

    I get the same reaction from most laypeople when they see a swarm. Then I start a "walk-in," and they get more intellectually curious, bolder, inquisitive, etc.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Posts
    684

    Default Re: When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    Quote Originally Posted by IAmTheWaterbug View Post
    Amazing what we survived as kids, no?

    Did you two understand what you were seeing when you were seeing it?
    I understood because my dad was a beekeeper and I grew up around bees.
    -- Joe
    "Make your own decision and embrace the consequences." -- jwcarlson

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    1,154

    Default Re: When was the first time you saw a swarm?

    I was in high school. I went to a private school and lived there. One of the science teacher caught a swarm on a branch, cut the branch off and was walking past our dormitory with it on his way home. It was a truly remarkable sight. The next time was about 40 years later (4 years ago) when I caught one in my yard. I am still fascinated with them.

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