San Mateo Ecovillage Swarm Removal

 

What is swarming?

Swarming is an instincive part of the annual life cycle of a honey bee colony, providing a mechanism for the colony to reproduce itself. Overcrowding and congestion in their hive box ("nest") are factors which predispose colonies to swarm. The tendency to swarm is usually the greatest when bees increase their population rapidly in late spring and early summer.

Is a bee swarm dangerous?

Despite the things movies are made of, honey bees exhibit defensive behavior only in the vicinity of their nest to protect their young and food supply. While in a swarm, neither is present, so bees are unlikely to act defensively unless they are provoked.

Why do they swarm at your property and what can you do about it.

When honey bees swarm, they will settle on a tree limb, bush, or other convenient site. The cohesiveness of the swarm is due to their attraction to a pheramone produced by the queen. Scouts are out looking for a suitable cavity and when you see the swarm, it is time to call your local beekeeper.

How does the beekeeper capture a swarm.

Well we have a saying in the club, ask 8 beekeepers a question and you will get 10 answers. This is certainly true of swarm capturing techniques. Basically, the beekeeper will bring along a "suitable" container and dislodge the swarm near that container, which he will later bring to their new home. You can observe the bees scent-fanning to signal that they have found a new home, but if for some reason, the queen is not captured, the bees will abandon it and form a new swarm whereever she is.

 

Information gathered from a site at the University of Nebraska. More information is available at many other sites including lots of picutres and information at Bee Master.

 


We are members of the San Mateo Bee Guild and like other members, we will be glad to rescue bees and give them a new home if you have noticed a swarm at your home or in your neighborhood. It would be great if you would call us first, but if we are not available you can find a list of other members who will help on the guild webite.

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Because the swarm was right over the fence, Brian had to prune the branch rather than putting the box under the branch.

The bees appeared to be going into the hive. They began the fanning motion described above.



In this case, there was still a small swarm hanging on the fence. Brian was not sure whether he got the queen with the main swarm. When we came back that evening to pick them up, I am sad to report that the swarm was gone. We attributed it to either missing the queen or that it might have been too warm on the cement slab that afternoon.