swarming: what are the bees doing? what should you do?
Peace of Mind Included
For many of us, the American Dream includes a comfortable home with room to grow. That’s definitely true of the honey bee. When a bee colony outgrows a home – whether it be a managed hive box, a tree trunk or a hole in the wall – it’s time to move, or swarm. The worker bees facilitate their decision to move by making a new queen. A honey bee colony, however, may only accommodate one queen. The old queen and the newly hatched queen either fight to the death or form a truce of sorts and part company. A large group of bees leaves the nest with one of the queens in search of a new home. The exiled queen and the majority of her subjects huddle together while a few scouts search for a suitable new home. That huddled mass of bees is a swarm. It may look intimidating, but swarms are generally quite docile. Bees are territorial in nature and a swarm, by definition, is homeless with no territory to defend.
A swarm may only stay as long as it takes to relocate, which may only take a few hours or a few days. If bees move onto your property and you’re not quite ready to be a beekeeper, Long Beach Beekeepers encourages you to engage a beekeeper to remove the bees humanely instead of exterminating them.
What about the original hive? The exodus of bees leaves the remaining bees with plenty of room. If this is a managed hive, lesson learned for the beekeeper to inspect often to ensure hive conditions do not encourage swarming.
Got bees? Get a Beekeeper
Pollinators like honey bees are vital to our food chain. Don’t exterminate. Relocate.
these entities will provide a list of qualified beekeepers for hire to help re-home a swarm.
City of Long Beach
County of Los Angeles
Honey Bee Allies