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See A Swarm? Don’t Exterminate, Call A Beekeeper!

If you spot a large clump of honey bees on a branch, tree, or other covered area, you have found a swarm. Honey bees swarm naturally when the conditions are right for them to split their colony. They generally can swarm during the spring, but honey bees have been reported to swarm throughout the summer and fall as well.

Swarming is the process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. They leave the remaining bees in the hive to raise a new queen. A swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees.

Unfortunately, swarms can cause problems for residents in urbanized areas and neighborhoods. But if you happen to see a swarm, please do not call an exterminator or attempt to use bee-killer on them, simply call a beekeeper to help give them a new home!

How To Identify A Honey Bee?
Not all flying, yellow bugs with stingers are bees or even honey bees. We recommend that you identify the “bee” or gathered bees that you have spotted. Honey bees and bumble bees are great pollinators, which generally are not aggressive towards humans and are a great benefit. Adversely, hornets & wasps (yellow jackets) don’t contribute as much to pollination, can be very aggressive, and are generally regarded as a nuisance and pest.

You can tell which insects that we need to help and those that contribute greatly to pollination by the large amount of hairs on their bodies, as they look ‘fuzzy.’ We unfortunately don’t have the resources to help bumble bees (which you won’t see gather in large numbers anyways) or other types of hairy bees, but we can help honey bees! Honey bees usually are a muted yellow, brown, or golden color as shown in the image below.

When To Exterminate?
We recommend calling a beekeeper before an exterminator in 99.9% of the calls we get; so that pollinators like honey bees and bumble bees that may be causing a problem at your home can be relocated, instead of being killed outright. If the situation becomes life-threatening, the only option may be extermination. However, if it is a simple matter them being a nuisance, remember we need bees and their pollination for our food and survival and allow them to take the honor of being a minor inconvenience until a beekeeper arrives.

We Can Help!
Southwest Honey Co. can help remove swarms that are less than 20 ft. off the ground and are not inside a structure (like a house or post), in Fort Wayne, Indiana and the surrounding area. Please call (260) 609-2897 or send us a message on our website www.southwesthoney.com if you would like them removed and we will give them a home at one of our apiaries at our naturally preserved properties in Northeast Indiana. We help with swarm removal free of charge, but we do accept donations to assist our efforts.

If you have honey bees within a structure, please contact the Northeast Indiana Beekeepers Association, www.neiba.info for further assistance.

Southwest Honey Co. was founded as an initiative to protect and conserve the bee population in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Our beekeeping practices are “bee-safe,” research based and our hives are kept in sustainable areas. Our organization is made up of volunteers and partners who want to help the honey bee population. We have also partnered with local conservation “minded” organizations to study, report and address the issues surrounding the honey bee. More information about us can be found on https://southwesthoney.com/