As the warmer weather finally reaches us, more and more people are heading outside whenever they get the chance. June invites us to get out and about and explore some of the local areas near us in Scotland. You just may not be fully prepared for what you might see.
Whether you’re out enjoying the Scottish Highlands or exploring a park in Glasgow, you may end up getting close (too close, perhaps) to a swarm of bees. Swarming is very common at this time of year, and it marks the start of a brand new bee colony. We need to do all we can to protect the humble bumble bee so it survives, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be alarmed to see thousands of them swarming over trees and cars.
The main thing to be aware of if you see a swarm is to keep your distance. While bumble bees will sting to protect their nest (the same is true of honey bees) they will die in the process. And of course, if you don’t pose a threat they won’t come near you in the first place. Indeed the odds of any of those bees taking the time to sting you are very long. They are far too focused on finding their new home to be too bothered with someone like you. Just make sure you don’t start flapping your arms around because this is likely to antagonise them and achieve the very thing you are trying to avoid.
The good thing is that while an individual bee is quite small, you can’t miss the sight of thousands of them all congregating together to get their nest built. The noise is a giveaway too if you happen to hear them all buzzing away together. Take these two signs as an indication to keep a good distance and to stay safe.
For the most part, anyone keeping bees should know how to prevent them swarming. This will ensure people don’t come across the phenomenon or find themselves in harm’s way because of it. One bee sting will do just that – sting – but no one wants to be stung by thousands of them. Furthermore some people are allergic to a bee sting and even one could be fatal.
For the most part though, understanding why bees swarm and keeping your distance will help you navigate this time of year in safety.