You may have heard by now about the declining honey bee population and the ripple effects this can have on crops and ecosystems. That's why it is so important to take proper steps if you should find yourself the proud, temporary new owner of a honey bee swarm.
First, it's important to know that honey bee swarms are not highly dangerous under most circumstances. Swarming honey bees gorge on nectar or honey prior to swarming, reducing their ability to sting. Also, since the bees are away from their nest (offspring and food stores), they are less defensive and are unlikely to sting unless provoked.
Swarming is a natural part of the development of a honey bee colony. Swarming is a method of propagation that occurs in response to crowding within the bee colony. When a colony becomes too large, the old queen will leave with thousands of worker bees, and they will start scouting for a new home. In the past three weeks, I have had two huge honey bee swarms in my yard. One swarm formed a carpet across my lawn, thousands of docile bees, clumping together around their queen. And today, I watched a cloud of bees swarm across the lawn, and up into the crook of a tree branch. It was both unnerving and majestic to witness!
Local bee keepers associations (Lorain County Beekeeper Association and Greater Cleveland Beekeeper Association) are happy to come out and collect bee swarms, and just about every county has an association, with the names and phone numbers of local bee keepers, should you stumble upon a swarm. Most often, they will do the removal for free, in exchange for keeping the bees. But if the swarm has taken up in your attic or the walls of your house, they will charge for their work, as it is very labor intensive.
Remember that honey bees are vital to agriculture, and all our fresh produce depends on these little guys pollinating crops! Never spray insecticide or wasp spray on a honey bee swarm. Not only is it unnecessary, but there can also be stiff penalties if you are caught! And remember to keep your distance should you or someone in your family be sensitive to bee stings!
While honey bees are not considered pests, you may be concerned about other insect pests in your home or lawn this summer. Weed Pro's Home Perimeter Pest Spray creates a shield around your home, stopping new bugs from getting in and killing those insects already crossing in and out of the house. Click here for more information about this program! And for a free, downloadable guide to DIY pest prevention in your home, please click below!