Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BEE SWARMS...

Beautiful hanging swarm... there are probably about 50,000 bees in this cluster
This is bee-swarm season.  The cool days keep bees inside their hives, clustering to keep their larva and queen warm.  The first warm days after a cold or wet-spell bring many swarms.  Swarms are the natural way bees increase their numbers; they will create a new queen which either kills the old one or takes off in search of a new home.
Swarming bees will rest by clumping together in a tree or under eaves.  If they are reachable, these swarms are a delight to capture for most beekeepers.  Typically they'll hang around for 2-3 days while their scouts are searching out new digs, then take off.   But if they decide your wall or roof or is the PERFECT place to set up their household, they will be much more difficult to remove.

Swarms may rest under eaves. If not too high, these swarms are not usually difficult to capture.
If you have a reachable, hanging oval of bees (see pics) you have a couple of options:
San Diego Beekeeping Society: They post a list of beekeepers wanting swarms.  Warning: in swarm season beekeepers are swamped with requests, and a lot of us just run out of equipment (boxes) or space for hives.
CraigsList: Enter the word "bees" in the search box.  You'll see a lot of requests for swarms and offers for bee removal.  Some local beekeepers will come for free, some will have a basic charge for time and gas (usually around $50).
If your bees are in a wall or roof, call the beekeeper and/or send pictures to the beekeeper, who will know if it's possible to remove them.  A last resort is to call an exterminator.  If the hive has been there for a long time (years), it could be quite large with a lot of comb to remove ... in other words, expensive.
Want reassurance or have questions: You are welcome to contact us: rob-kim@deerhornvalley.net  We can at least give you our take on your situation and maybe some suggestions.  Also check out the pictures and information on DeerhornValley.net  (use the "Beekeeping" link at left)

They can rest on fences or posts too.  Swarms will usually leave for a permanent home  in a couple of days.
FACTS
  • Bees are responsible for every third bite of food you eay: fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.  
  • Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious syndrome where bees abandon their hives, has eliminated some 40% of American bees for EACH of the last 4 years.  This is a major area of concern for countries around the world as they look at future food supplies. CCD has driven many commercial beekeepers out of business, and the price of renting hives for crop pollination is now around $350 each (at least one hive per acre is required)
  • Deerhorn's bee population was wiped out by the Harris Fire, so swarms are finding no competition and coming back in large numbers.
  • About 80% of wild hives have been "Africanized" to some extent, however the aggressive traits of bees seem to be diluting as they interbreed with domesticated bees kept by beekeepers

1 comment:

  1. The information you provide is very important.Unfortunately bees are on the endangered list because diseases have wiped them out.

    ReplyDelete