What A Honey Bee Swarm Is, What It Means & What To Do If You Find One
Recently, people are realizing the environmental importance of honey bees. With an increase in bee awareness and Save The Bees campaigns like this one from Cheerios, many are starting to do what they can to protect these tiny flying insects.However, all of these bee-saving efforts seem to fly out the window (no pun intended) when someone discovers a honey bee swarm around their home. While we understand that a swarm of honey bees may seem frightening, we’re here to assure you there’s nothing to be afraid of!Obviously, no one wants thousands of bees swarming around their home. But honey bees swarm for a reason, and it’s important for you to understand what a honey bee swarm is, what it means and what to do if you find one around your home. While we hope you continue reading this blog to educate yourself on honey bees and their swarms, we want to take the time now to explain the importance of handling a swarm with care. If you find a honey bee swarm in your yard or home, don’t panic and don’t try to kill them. Either wait for the bees to peacefully move on, or contact a pest removal specialist or local beekeeper immediately to safely remove the swarm without threatening your home or the honey bees. Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s kick things off by first explaining what a honey bee swarm is.
What Makes Honey Bees Swarm?
Generally, there are two reasons why honey bees swarm: lack of space and colony reproduction. When a swarm occurs, the existing queen bee takes roughly half of the current colony and begins to look for a new place to colonize. However, before they can leave, there are quite a few things that need to be done around the hive.
Before the swarm
First, the current queen bee begins to lay eggs into “queen cups”. These queen cups are built by other bees in the hive and used to hold and develop the queen’s eggs. Eventually, one of these eggs will hatch and become the new queen, but not before the existing queen and half of her colony leave the hive. However, the queen is heavy and tired due to the constant reproduction of eggs. So, the other bees in the hive “lighten” her by stopping the reproduction process. Once she is strong enough to fly, the swarm begins.
The swarm takes flight
After the existing queen and her colony leave the hive, they usually don’t get very far. The queen is tired, and still needs to rest so the swarm may only be a few feet from the existing hive! The honey bees then find a safe space to land and surround the queen, hence the swarm. Scouting honey bees fly around to find a new place to colonize, then democratically decide where their next colony should be—take the time to read about it, it’s amazing. Meanwhile, back at the hive, the new queen has hatched. In order to declare herself as the sole queen, she infiltrates all of the queen cups and kills any other potential queens. Now, there are two existing honey bee colonies, meaning more bees to pollinate our ecosystem!
What A Honey Bee Swarm Means
Like we said before, honey bees don’t swarm just to swarm. It’s a strategic process that not only allows the honey bee population to grow, but also improves our environment through pollination. So, when you see a swarm of thousands of honey bees, don’t panic! A honey bee swarm indicates that bees are simply trying to find a new home. They aren’t trying to harm you (although they might if you bother them!). A swarm is only a resting place for the queen and her bees—they won’t be staying long. The trouble with finding a honey bee swarm around your home though is that you don’t want the honey bees to make your home their own. While honey bees are generally docile, they may sting or attack if they feel threatened. For some, several stings could result in serious health implications, which is why it’s crucial to know what to do if and when you stumble across a honey bee swarm.
4 Step Plan For When You Find A Honey Bee Swarm Around Your Home
If you find a honey bee swarm around your home, here are four steps to take to protect yourself, the bees and your home.
1. Don’t panic
As we mentioned before, the honey bees are not trying to harm you—they’re only trying to find a new home! More often than not, the panic and fear surrounding a honey bee swarm may cause you to use harmful chemicals and pesticides to kill the bees. This is not necessary, and we don’t recommend these tactics for swarm removal.
2. Stay away—don’t intentionally aggravate the bees
Sometimes people, especially children, try to aggravate the honey bees by throwing things like sticks or rocks at the swarm. This will not only harm the bees, but could cause them to attack any potential threats. Remember to steer clear of the swarm, and remain at a reasonable distance away at all times.
3. If possible, leave them alone
The swarm won’t be there for long, maybe a day or so, so your best option is typically to leave it alone until they move on. As long as the honey bees have not swarmed in an area that threatens you or your home, we recommend letting them rest until they fly to their new colony.
4. If there is a threat, contact a local pest removal expert
However, if the swarm causes a potential threat to you, your home or family, contact a pest control expert or local beekeeper immediately. They will be able to safely remove the swarm from your home without threatening you or harming the bees. When you need a honey bee expert, look no further than the team at Killingsworth. We are the professionals when it comes to pest removal and control, so we can help take care of any pests around your home—honey bee swarms included.If you find yourself in need of honey bee swarm removal, don’t wait to reach out. We’re ready to help you in any way we can! Schedule a service with us right away.
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