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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Spring is in the air! Warmer temperatures bring everyone out to enjoy the great outdoors, including honeybees. When Spring rolls around, Mary, Missy and Gail, our amazing bee phone call specialists, start to get some panicky calls from Dallas /Fort Worth customers about honeybee swarms.
Q: “Why is there a football size clump of bees hanging from my tree?”
A (Mary): “Sounds like you have a honeybee swarm, no need to panic.”
Q: “Please help me! There is a swarm of bees down the block what do I do?”
A (Missy): “Take a deep breath you’ve called the right place.”
Q: “I see a ton of bees flying around outside my house. I’m scared.”
A (Gail): “Don’t worry. We can help!”
Spring gives rise to honeybee swarms. A swarm sounds scary, but it is just nature’s way of helping the bee population survive. All winter, bees have been holed up in their current hive living off the honey they have produced. When the weather begins to warm the colony starts to expand.
The queen bee is busy laying eggs this time of year, including worker and drone eggs. Soon the hive grows too big for only one queen bee and another queen is created. The second queen bee arrives when the hive has expanded so much that the workers can no longer smell the first queen bee’s pheromones she emits. Basically, if they can’t smell the first queen bee, they don’t know she’s alive so they create a new queen bee by feeding the future queen bee royal jelly. There is only one queen bee per hive so now a new colony needs to be formed. Usually the original queen bee will fly off with about half the colony and go find a new place to live. This is a swarm.
Little Giant Beekeepers gets many call about this phenomenon this time of year. People see a clump of bees hanging on a tree, branch or sometimes a car and the sight can be a bit unnerving. A swarm stops wherever the queen decides to rest. The group waits here while scouting bees go find a new place to make a permanent home. If you see a swarm in your yard or area you will want to keep an eye out to make sure the scouting bees don’t make your home, their home!
If you have a swarm around your house call Little Giant Beekeepers and we can talk about the next steps in protecting 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…never fun for a homeowner! Call 972-980-0923.