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Posted 23 October 06

Letter below was sent to us from Australia ... can anyone shed any light on the question ?  Fact or Folklore ?  Comments to Webmaster please.

(One comment below and see also A Christmas story about bees )


The Secretary ... Moray Beekeepers

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing to you in the hope you can shed some light on a problem my young grandson encountered recently when researching a school project entitled "Christmas in Scotland."

titlehough our family emigrated to Australia  from Scotland almost a century ago, a keen interest in the affairs of the "Old Country" has been maintained by each succeeding generation and therefore it was  not surprising  my eight-year old grandson selected Scotland  when asked by his teacher to report on the Christmas traditions of another country

As is often the way in these matters, the grand parents were soon  called upon to help out and it was while my grandson and I were researching together we came across an item which I found very strange indeed. It  claimed on Christmas Day in some parts of Scotland , bees begin to swarm for no apparent reason only to return to their hives a short time later.

My question to you is have you ever heard of such an occurrence during winter? And if so, are any of your members able to hazard a guess as to why it may be so?

My grandson and I would be very grateful for any assistance you may be able to offer in this matter.

Thanking you in anticipation

Ian McNeill Darroch


Response ... posted 25 Oct 06

Fascinating one John.

I think what this may refer to is the fact that at any time during winter, on a mild / sunny day, the bees will fly to relieve themselves. In a large colony, this activity, concentrated as it may be into a one hour period, or even less if the weather changes suddenly, may give the appearance of a swarm emerging then returning. In fact, the number of bees involved could be equal to that of a very small swarm. However in my view, a swarm is not a swarm unless it includes a queen, which this would not; and in any case, the purpose of this emergence is totally different to that of a true swarm, which is a division of the colony.
Does this help?

Keep up the good work ... Best wishes Al


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