Swarming is the honey bees’ natural way to procreate. Think of it this way – the original hive is still where it was, but the bees are “starting a franchise”. A number of bees leave the original colony with a queen (either the original queen or a new, unmated queen) and fly to a new location. This flight is made by landing in a number of spots along the way, until they get to the place that their scout bees have determined is a good home. This usually happens in the spring and early summer, and beekeepers work very hard to manage this process. Sometimes, however, the bees surprise us.
SBHF understands that home and property owners may not agree with where a swarm has chosen to land. Calling a beekeeper to come and retrieve the honey bees is good for the home owner (it removes them from an unwanted area), the beekeeper (we can place the bees in a new hive or use them to help strengthen a weak hive), and the bees (they have a new home where they will be cared for).
If you call us, you should be prepared to answer a number of questions about the swarm: What it landed on, how long it has been there, how high it is, etc. We may even ask you to text us a picture. All this is done to make sure that we bring the equipment we need with us.
We will either come ourselves to retrieve the swarm, or send another beekeeper. Please keep in mind that this is dependent on beekeeper availability, but we will do this as quickly as possible.
If the honey bees have located to a place inside a wall, and deconstruction of the wall is required (this is called a “cut out”), we will help you located a licensed/bonded individual to help you. Though swarms are often collected at no cost, cut outs will often involve a fee due to the cost of materials needed to put the wall back together. If you require a cut out, we highly encourage you to go through this process and NOT spray, for two reasons: 1) We want to save the bees! And, 2) Honey bee colonies often contain brood and honey. If the honey’s water content is too high, then the honey AND the dead brood will mildew and rot, and this could cost additional issues for your house in the future, depending on the extent of the problem.
We get many calls about bees in the fall and early winter, too. But at this time of year, the likelihood is exponentially greater that what the homeowner is calling about is NOT a honey bee, but is actually a wasp or yellow jacket.
Because of the rare possibility that what you see flying out of the walls of your house may be a late season honey bee split, we want to help you identify the insect, so that you can take appropriate measures.
You should be prepared to text us a picture of the insect, as well as where the colony is residing. The insect can be alive or dead, but a CLEAR picture is necessary.
If the insect is identified as a honey bee, we will follow the same procedures as listed under "Honey Bee Swarms".
If the insect is identified as a yellow jacket or wasp, then you will have the option of calling a pest control company, or spraying them yourself.
WARNING: YJ's and wasps can be very aggressive. We recommend calling a pest control company. But, if you do spray them yourself, make sure you wear protective clothing and that vulnerable adults, children and pets are safely indoors.
Honey Bees and Bumble Bees are fuzzy. They gather nectar and pollen and unless you threaten them, are usually docile.