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Whenever I refer to a group of bees, there are several terms I might use. But not all of them are technically correct. A lot of people will use the term swarm, but this refers to the way bees move and behave more than it does to their existence as a group. So what is a group of bees called?
The proper name for a group of bees is a colony. However, there are a lot of other collective nouns that are used to describe a colony.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can refer to a group of bees.
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If you want to be technically correct then using the term a colony of bees is what you would need to say.
Colonies live together in numbers that can go into the tens of thousands. In the wild, they will build a nest. However, when they’re kept in controlled conditions by humans, these colonies will live in a manmade hive and therefore are sometimes called a hive of bees.
Within each colony, there is some serious organization going on. Bees are highly social animals and work hard as a team in order to survive. Every member of the colony has his or her own role to fulfil. For example, the male drone’s sole purpose is to mate with the queen, once he does this, he dies. There are worker bees that will go out and collect nectar and pollen while the nanny bees take care of the young in the nursery.
You may often hear people calling a group of bees a swarm. While this is a term that can be used to talk about bees, it’s not the proper name for a group.
The word swarm is used to describe a group of bees that is on the move. Sometimes, when their nest becomes inhabitable or the colony becomes too large, some bees have to leave. They’ll group closely together and fly off to find a new home.
Swarms typically only travel around one mile from their previous home although there are instances that they could travel up to five miles. Naturally, this is a long way for such small creatures so they’ll often stop to rest. This is when you can see swarms resting on trees, fences or other structures.
People are often afraid of a swarm of bees because of how they’re portrayed in cartoons and movies. However, the reality is that, when they’re swarming, bees are at their most docile because they’re not in ‘protect the nest’ mode.
So, if a colony is the correct term for a group of bees and a swarm is the correct term for a group of bees on the move, is there any other way to describe them? Well, yes there is!
There are several common terms that are used to describe a group of bees and some are rather interesting. Here are some of my favorites.
- Charm of bees
- Bike of bees
- Cluster of bees
- Game of bees
- Rabble of bees
- Hum of bees
As you can see, there are lots of ways to talk about a group of bees. When you think about it, it’s rare that you’ll hear the term ‘colony’, which is the official word for a group of our winged friends. So, if you want to use one of the more interesting terms like a hum of bees or a charm of bees then everyone will know what you’re talking about.