Si uchawi! Clarifying why bees swarm in odd places
For years now, I am sure you have come across several news stories, images and videos on social media of crowds gathered around either a motorcycle, a car, a television set or even on a person swarmed with bees. Many of them claiming it was a witch or wizard’s doing to identify a thief or a stolen item in the community.
You will find advertisements with people practising witchcraft giving out their phone numbers, saying they can identify thieves no matter how far they are – and they either send bees or snakes to locate them. They are the only ones who can eliminate these ‘thief identifying’ bees.
Well, Nairobi News clarifies that the relationship between bees and witchcraft is nonexistent at best.
And…bees swarming a person or property could be sheer coincidence, and the community might end up vilifying an innocent person – worse, even killing them to get rid of societal evils.
Here’s why we take this stand:
Bees can swarm a place due to various reasons. One of them is that the colony’s queen bee might leave the hive with a portion of the worker bees and, together, form a swarm.
They can temporarily settle on a location near the original hive while the scouting bees search for a new place to hive.
And when bees swarm, this means it is the season for them to reproduce and establish new colonies. No witchcraft sends them anywhere to swarm.
Secondly, because the scout bees are responsible for identifying the new location for a new hive, they consider suitable cavities or shelter, adequate space and protection from the elements.
During swarming, the bees may temporarily gather and form a swarm while they evaluate the new place where they can set up nesting sites.
And if in the evening you forgot to lock up all your car windows, the scout bees may decide for all the bees to set up in your car temporarily.
The question then becomes, if you owned the car for a year and people found the bees in it, will they say you are a thief or that you’ve been bewitched? The same could apply if you have an old television with a protruding back and a cracked hole- what if the bees set up in there temporarily?
Last but not least, changes in weather conditions, loss of the original hive and scarcity of food and water cause bees to swarm and seek new locations to settle in.
These locations may include someone’s attic. Did witchcraft send them to your house, then?
If you happen to encounter a swarm, do not provoke them. Send for a beekeeper who can safely relocate them to a more suitable location. And before you join the crowds chanting ‘hii ni uchawi, ni mwizi’, stop and remember that you read this article first and are wiser for it.