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This is how honey bee colonies reproduce.

When conditions in the hive become overcrowded or resources are scarce, the collective members decide to look for a new home.  But, before they leave, preparations have to be made.  First, they must be sure the remaining colony is not left queenless - so they build new queen cells and prepare them with royal jelly.  Next, they will limit the feeding of the queen and give her lots of exercise so she can be light enough to take flight.   The day of the swarm, scout bees leave the hive in search of a suitable new home; however, the rest of the swarming colony all must stage in one spot and wait for the final decision on what direction they must travel.  This is when most people will notice them.  Back in the original hive, the remaining half of workers and drones will begin a new colony with their newly hatched queen.

The photo on the right is a swarm that has collected on a fence. The ball shape is designed to protect the queen from predators and adverse weather. 

The swarm, despite its intimidating hum and size, is usually docile as there is no honey or brood to be defensive about. Your local beekeeper will be able to easily capture them and provide a proper home for them. 

Your local beekeeper's association will have a list of beekeepers who will perform this service; usually for free.  Click the link below if you live in Northwest NJ and notice a bee swarm.

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