Spring is about to spring and so are the bees. It is the time of the year for bee swarms. We already know that bears hibernate in the winter and in a way, bees do too. While we are bundled up in snuggies, with the heater on high, bees are doing the same – staying warm inside the hive. When the weather gets cold bees retreat to the hive and live off the honey they produced in warmer months only to reemerge when it warms up in the spring.
When it starts warming up the queen bee gets to laying eggs. The hive is busy expanding. Sometimes it gets too large for only one leader. If the bees cannot smell the queen bee’s pheromones because the hive gets too big another queen bee is created. As the saying goes, “There’s only room for one queen bee.” One of the queen bees needs to leave the hive. Usually, the original queen bee takes off with about half the colony to find a new home, and this is called a bee swarm. It is nature’s way of expanding the bee population. When a hive swarms it looks like a giant dark cloud of bees flying everywhere. It can be alarming and even terrifying for some. Don’t Panic! Surprisingly, the bees are very docile in this “swarming” state. They are focused strictly on getting to their new home safely and emptying their full bellies of the honey they filled up with to start their new hive. If you happen to see bees swarming live-in-person, stay still and calm and remember never to swat at them. The swarming process is swift and they will pass over within just a minute or two.
Clients might call and let us know they are concerned with an enormous swarm of bees resting on their car, fence or sidewalk. A bee swarm sitting in this swarm state is usually just resting on their journey to find a new home that provides more shelter from the elements. In these instances, we usually recommend leaving them alone, if possible for 24-48 hrs. Then, if the swarm does not move on in a timely manner, Little Giant Beekeepers can come out and safely remove the swarm and relocate it to a safer area – away from people.
If you see a swarm camped out a while in a location that means they are also sending out their scouts to find a new home. All bees have specific jobs. Scout bees head out, “scouting” for the perfect new home. They leave in groups to check out new places to live. This is something our clients need to be aware of. Hopefully, they pick a hole in a tree, far away from your house. Unfortunately, sometimes they pick your house to move the colony in to. If you see bees in small groups flying around your house, “scoping it” you need to keep watch. They could be picking a space behind a hole in your brick or eave to move in to. No bueno! If you see a swarm in your yard or tree and see scout bees cruising around looking in your windows, you might want to give Little Giant Beekeepers a call. It is best not to let the bees move into your house in the first place. It is much harder to remove bees once they establish residency in a home’s eave or wall.
If you have a swarm, please call Little Giant Beekeepers to talk about steps to take to protect your home from a swarm moving in. We can come safely remove the swarm for a fee and relocate them to an apiary, so you don’t have to worry about them moving into your structure. Call 972-316-9135 for a free consultation.