Originally Posted by ebaugh
. . . . I feel a little bad, but the Mar Azul has no room for a bee colony!
Hiya Bob - I used to keep bees in the UK on my farm (40 colonies)
Just to let you know what happened.
The bees had been living somewhere quite nicely when their honey production and storage
outstripped the number of places they could keep the honey so the queen laid queen cell eggs for that colony to survive and, with a few thousand bees, they all stocked up on honey and flew away. This is the swarm you had alight on "Mar Azul".
In this situation they are totally harmless unless of course you start going in and killing them and they then might start to attack you because they are only trying to defend and protect their queen.
This is how you see photographs of men
who have a 'beard' comprised of a swarm of bees. They are totally harmless in a swarm.
Whilst they are resting on your yacht, they send out hundreds of worker bees in all directions and these bees are instructed to 'find' a suitable place to permanently set up home in somewhere dry, dark and empty.
If a bee returns, this bee then tells others of her find and a few bees go and inspect this location until hundreds of bees then go and look. Finally the complete swarm including the queen which has been resting on your yacht will take off as suddenly as it appeared and go in one direction. They can be resting whilst looking for up to two or three days.
A swarm of bees will travel as a swarm at about 4 or 5 mph at about 20 to 25 feet above ground level and swarms will only travel between 10am and 2pm local time. Quite a rare sight and if you have not seen a swarm in flight you have to stop and think for a moment as to what they heck is happening??? Worth getting the video camera
out if you get time.
For the next couple of days or so, you will get returning bees who had been send out to look in another direction and they will return to find the queen and all the other worker bees have gone but sadly, the queen and the rest of the swarm do not leave any note or forwarding address telling of the new house they have moved to, it is very sad.
A worker bee will only live in total for about 30 days. After it hatches in the hive, it spends 5 days on feeding duties and hive cleaning
duties and fanning to control the temperature of the hive. For the next eight or ten days it will become a hive guard bee repelling all attacking foreigners and other robber bees. During this time, it 'learns' about its location and sun angles as it flies away from the hive a few tens of yards and returns to defend the entrance of the hive.
The remaining part of its life it is sent away foraging for nectar and pollen and it will do this until its wings become ragged and it cannot fly. It will die on one of these missions never to return. When opening up a hive, you can see the bees with ragged and torn wings.
The queen can live for up to seven years.
If you get stung by a honey bee, it will also leave a 'sting pheromone' on the location of the sting on your body. This pheromone will be picked up by others who will then home in on it and try to sting in the same location! Out of choice, they will try and sting black surfaces in preference to white as this is the same color of a bears nose and honey robbing bears have sensitive noses. Bee keepers wear white!
Of course, you have to be very aware of any African 'Killer' Bees which are EXTREMELY aggressive in your area and if you are attacked by them, jumping overboard
and stay underwater is your best defense. You must have been lucked with the type you have banished from your yacht. Always best to leave bees well alone if you are unsure?
Best you read the Wiki report on their slowly spreading north from Brazil into the southern USA so they would certainly inhabit your location! THEY ARE VERY AGGRESSIVE AND DANGEROUS, leave well alone!
Africanized bee - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Out of interest, they also have another pheromone which they leave on flowers. A honey bee, whilst out foraging for nectar will alight on a flower and sup of the nectar which is there for the taking. As it does so, it leaves a "I have taken all the nectar" pheromone. It is a short lived pheromone and any following bee on alighting on the same flower will know immediately that the nectar is taken and straight away take flight to find another flower. You can see this 'touch and go' type of flying if you look at a flower bed
when there are loads of honey bees out collecting nectar and pollen.
I hope this is of help to you and others who might see a swarm of bees?
S/Y "Surabaya Girl" - 2DTW3 - Portsmouth UK