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Collecting a Wild Honeybee Swarm (VIDEO)

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In this video, beekeeper Matt Reed demonstrates how to collect a wild honeybee swarm. This one is about 2 pounds in size, or 7,000 bees. A swarm may range in size anywhere between roughly 1000 to 30,000 bees, and relies upon a small contingent of scouts to find a suitable home. They then relay that information back to the collective. It is believed that honeybee scouts perform an acoustic dance to convey their enthusiasm for a potential site. Eventually, a consensus is reached among the group, and one site is chosen to become the new home. Suitable housing exists in hollow trees or logs, but may also be chosen inside man-made structures including hollow walls, and under porches or eves.

Reed does not treat his bees with any chemicals, but relies instead upon natural selection (those bees that survive without any treatments) to confer their genetic resistance to disease and parasite infection. By maintaining disease resistance in their genetic stock, Reed hopes to develop strains of bees that will remain hearty over time, and be entirely free of the need for chemical treatments, or medications to sustain their populations.

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