SEE A SWARM? DON’T EXTERMINATE, CALL A BEEKEEPER!
If you spot a large clump of honey bees on a branch, in a 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. This is how they keep their species populated. They generally swarm during the spring, but honey bees have been reported to swarm throughout the summer and fall as well. This year, with spring-time being a bit delayed, swarm season could also be effected, and we could see swarms all the way into the summer months.
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 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 as they continue now as two separate colonies. 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 insect-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 honey bees or even bees. We recommend that you identify the “bee” or gathered bees that you have spotted. Honey bees and bumble bees are great pollinators, and are generally not aggressive towards humans. Adversely, hornets & wasps (yellow jackets) don’t contribute as much to pollination, can be very aggressive, and are generally regarded as a nuisances and pests.
You can typically tell which insects are great pollinators by the large amount of hairs on their bodies, as they will look ‘fuzzy.’ We unfortunately don’t have the resources to help rescue bumble bees and other native bees (which you won’t see gather in large numbers anyways), but we CAN help honey bees!
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 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 of them being a nuisance, remember we need bees and their pollination for our food and survival. Allow them to take the honor of being a minor inconvenience until a beekeeper arrives.
We Can Help!
Southwest Honey Co. can help remove honey bee 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.
Through the support of volunteers, Southwest Honey Co. cares for over 50 hives, in which the honey bee swarm colonies which were relocated from urban environments to sustainable areas including organic farms and naturally preserved properties around Fort Wayne, Indiana. More than just beekeepers, the conservation organization is dedicated to creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, promoting awareness of their population decline and educating the public on ways they can help through pollinator education programs in the community. Renowned for their unique pollinator educational programs for children and adults, Southwest Honey Co.’s efforts are funded through the support of corporate sponsorships, private donations and customer purchases of their locally made products. More: https://southwesthoney.com