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Little Giant Beekeepers Blog

The Why and How of Bee Swarms

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.

Valentine’s Day Honey Buzz

Buzzz……. it’s almost Valentine’s Day! If you have a sweetheart, it is time to start planning a lovely day or night in or out. Little Giant Beekeepers has a few ideas that involve a couple of our favorite things – bees and honey!

Some people dislike dining out on Valentine ’s Day due to overpriced prix fix meals and the large crowds. Many peeps would rather stay home and cook with their honey. But on a night like Valentine’s Day just a regular meal won’t cut it – you need something special, so bring on the honey. How about The Splendid Tables, Black Pepper Honey Steak? The sugar in the honey creates a perfect crust on the outside and yields a tender and delicious inside. The sweet and salty flavors meld for a great grilling combination.

Spend more time heating things up in the kitchen and make date night a cooking night with these Greek delicacies, loukoumades, or honey balls. Once these donut-like creations are fried, soak them in honey and cover in chopped walnuts. They may be a challenge to make, but that’s part of the date fun!

Flowers, chocolate, what about bees? Bee designs are making a buzz right now and why not incorporate some into your gift equation? Etsy is a great resource for adorable bee necklaces. Some motifs never go out of style! From the delicate to the ornate, there is one to fit anyone’s style and budget. Looking for a high-end version? Let’s not forget the one that comes in a little blue box. This piece of jewelry will be sure to become a family heirloom.

A couple that plays together stays together! How about starting a new hobby you both can enjoy? Beekeeping is a hobby that is good for you and the environment. And every one looks good in a beekeeper suit- right? Believe it not all you really need to get started is a backyard and some patience.

Another fun gift with buzz is a  jacquard bee tie. Bees are having a design moment.  This regal tie is both fun and elegant. Pair it with a slim fit black suit and you are ready to roll. Here is another more expensive version by none other than Gucci.

Let’s not forget the kids’ valentines! Pinterest it up a bit this year! Parents get tired of all the sugar that comes home, so how about something more natural? How about giving individual honey sticks with a sweet note attached, “Bee My Valentine.” The free printable is here. You can find honey sticks at home good stores or on Amazon.

Of course, we love bees and honey at Little Giant Beekeepers! We also know people do not want them residing in their house. If you’re are looking for a live hive honeybee removal company in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we are your Valentine! Call us at 972-316-9135 to ask questions and to schedule an appointment today

Happy New Year from the Little Giant Beekeepers Team

Here’s to a happy & healthy 2019!

We want to thank all our customers and our staff that make every day fun and exciting. We couldn’t do it without you all!

We had some company shenanigans over the break celebrating the holidays!  Little Giant Beekeepers would like you to meet some of our staff who have made our parties and work life fun over the last few of years!

Jefferson (LEFT) – Lead bee technician and our resident comedian (as shown by his jaunty Christmas suit!). He might be at your house to help you with bees and we guarantee he will keep you entertained!  Interesting fact: He is from Brazil.

Louise Wright (RIGHT) – Meet Little Giant Beekeepers owner, Louise. She got into beekeeping when she was looking for a natural alternative to help her allergies. She and her husband Harold soon became fascinated with all the neat things bees and beekeeping could offer and BOOM – a business was born!

 

Gail (LEFT) – If you call on a Sunday you will get Gail on the phone to answer your bee questions!
Melanie (RIGHT) – Our back up bee phone Gal!

 

Manoel (LEFT) – Here he is enjoying some Brazilian food with a friend.  Manoel is another one of our friendly bee technicians who also happens to hail from Brazil!

 

Sandor (CENTER) – Here is Sandor, his lovely wife (LEFT) and Louise (RIGHT).  Sandor is one of our beehive removal experts and has been working with us for over 35 years. He is also a retired US Army veteran, and we are grateful for his service.

 

Missy (LEFT), Jefferson (CENTER), anonymous photobomber and let’s not forget Esther (RIGHT), our fearless behind the scenes bee leader!!  She keeps the team together and in line!

 

KYLE and his wife – These friendly faces are another one of our helpful hive removal technicians.  Even with six kids they still manage to get together matching sweaters for our annual Christmas sweater party!

 

Everyone frantically playing the Saran Wrap game!  Esther wrapped lots of goodies and gift cards in Saran Wrap. You must rip through the saran ball before the next person lands on a double in dice. When they land on a double you pass the ball around. It’s a blast, especially when you get something good – gift cards galore!

 

MISSY – Call Little Giant Beekeepers to schedule an appointment or ask questions and you are likely to get our bee girl extraordinaire Missy! She can answer all your questions, with a smile and a lovely southern accent.

 

Missy (RIGHT), Jefferson (LEFT) and Mary (on Facetime)!  Mary was out of town and Facetime-d in for our annual holiday party. We are sooooo tech savvy!

 

MARY – Meet Mary, our honeybee “aficionado!”  She truly is an encyclopedia of flying insect knowledge and much more. Rarely can you stump her when it comes to questions about bees. Call her and give her a try!  She has worked at Little Giant Beekeepers for many years and is a big part of the team.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM LITTLE GIANT BEEKEEPERS!!

What is a Honeybee Scout?

Our last blog post talked about the spring phenomenon of honeybee swarms. Well, a swarm goes hand-in-hand with another spring honeybee activity, scouting.

What is a Scouting Honeybee?

Scout bees are a smaller group of bees that hang together and “scout” for a new place for the swarm to move into. You can tell a scout bee because it looks like they are checking out a broad area, flying around, or scouting. People often see scouting bees flying in small groups around the outside of their house. These bees are scouting a place for their swarm to move into. So…beware if you see this.

Often, the scouting bees make their way into a home from the outside. We get many distressed phone calls about bees scouting a house in spring.  Clients also may call when they find an alarmingly large number of dead bees inside their home. Usually, this means the bees have died while scouting. They get inside a house through a small hole outside and then can’t find their way back out. Eventually, they die of exhaustion.

A swarm on your property might just decide to move on to the next location but if you see scout bees around your house you should be on the lookout. They could decide your home is a nice place to make their next home. This is never a good thing for a homeowner.

How do I know if I have a scout or a swarm?

Scout bees will be scanning a large area. If you see single bees going in and out a hole in a structure in a single line you might already have a swarm that has moved in. It is a best at this point to call a profession bee removal specialist who can help you decipher if you just have scout bees or a hive already established.

If you are concerned you have a swarm or scout bees call Little Giant Beekeepers at 972-980-0923 and see what the next step is to protect your home. We can safely remove a swarm for a fee and relocate them to an apiary.

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