Spring has sprung, and so have the honeybees. This time of year is known as swarm season. All winter bees have been in their hives existing from the honey they produced before winter.
Come early spring, the queen bee has been busy laying larvae that will become the workers and drones of the colony. Soon she will have produced so many new bees that the hive becomes too large to manage. When the hive gets too big the bees no longer smell the original queen and thinking she is dead they create a new one.
There can’t be two queens in a colony. So, after the new queen bee is made, the original queen bee leaves with about half of the colony to find new digs – hence the swarm.
If you see a huge clump of bees together, this is a swarm. They often land on trees and sidewalks to rest while the scout bees leave to check things out and to try to find a new home for them. The queen bee is protected somewhere in the middle of the swarm. When she gets tired, she stops for a rest, and so does the whole bee gang.
A swarm of bees is truly a sight to see. And though it seems scary, they are usually pretty docile. Little Giant Beekeepers gets calls for swarms located on cars, sidewalks, and office buildings. Most of the time, they will move on to the next place.
We usually tell people to wait 72 hours and see if they move on their own. Sometimes they don’t leave or are in a location that is dangerous for them or people around. Little Giant Beekeepers can come and relocate a swarm to a safer place.
What you do want to be aware of is if you see scouting bees around your house. Scouting bees leave the swarm to look for a new place to make their colony. They often fly around a house trying to find a hole into a void, like an eave to make their new home. So, if you start to see multiple bees going into a hole in the side of a window or eave beware, they might have started a colony.
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.
Bees are most active between spring and fall. Summer is prime time for bees’ favorite activities – including colonizing and establishing new hives. Contrary to some peoples’ beliefs, bees’ favorite activities do not include terrorizing humans. In truth, most bees are not harmful unless you disturb them. It is still important to know some basic bee safety tips.
For example, if you happen upon a swarm of bees, they are simply on the lookout for a new place to colonize and won’t want to bother you, or be bothered themselves! Most of the time, if you wait it out, they will move on.
What do I do if I find a hive of bees in my yard?
Unexpectedly finding a hive of bees, on the other hand, can be dangerous. If the hive is uncovered when performing yard work with loud machines, say yielding a leaf blower, or on a ride-on mower, the sound and activity could upset the hive. If you find a hive on your property or in an area that many people come upon, it is best to perform a live honey bee removal, so the bees don’t get agitated from activity in the area. Honey bee hive removal is a job best left to the professionals who have the right safety protective gear and knowledge. The last thing you want to do it upset a hive of bees by spraying them madly and running. Not only will you anger the colony, but it also won’t kill the hive because most likely the queen will not be disturbed.
How do I know if the bees are Africanized honey bees?
There is also a chance that you might have come across africanized honey bees. How do you know if they are africanized honey bees (aka Killer bees)? You won’t be able to tell just by looking, there are some slight differences, but in the heat of the moment, you don’t want to stick around to determine. You must observe their personality. Africanized honey bees are more aggressive in general. They attack in more significant numbers and stay angry and aggressive for up to an hour. Africanized honey bees venom is stronger, and they can make a nest in just about anything and anywhere.
How do you stay safe around bees in the summer?
What do you do if you are stung by bees?
When a bee stings, it leaves it stinger. You want to remove the stinger as fast as possible. Scape it out and wash the area with soap and water. Later you can apply a cold compress to the area. If you have trouble breathing, become dizzy or even nauseous, you might be having an allergic reaction to the sting. Call 911 as soon as possible. The good news is that most of the population is not allergic to bees. On average, only a very small percent of the population is allergic to bees. But for those who are, it can be deadly. If you are out and about this summer in nature where bees might be, avoid heavy scents like found in florid soaps and body lotions. Don’t wear bright colors or florals that might look like lunch for a bee. Try not to leave sweet stuff uncovered at a picnic or leave sticky garbage out without a lid.
Bees do not want to harm you. But they also do not like being disturbed. If you do find a hive, contact Little Giant Beekeepers and we can help you decide the next steps free of charge. Call 972-316-9135 for a free consultation.
IMAGE CREDIT: Photo by Juan Salamanca from Pexels