Person County Beekeepers Association

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IDENTIFYING & REPORTING A SWARM

If you suspect that you see a bee swarm, please call or text us at 919-599-4790 or email at personcountybeekeepers@gmail.com ASAP!

Swarms may only remain in the location for a short period of time (hours) so speed is critical in a successful collection.

    Swarming is a honey bee colony's natural means of reproduction. In the process of swarming, a single colony splits into two or more distinct colonies.  Several thousands of bees will take flight with the original queen in search of a new location.  A virgin queen will be left behind with the remainder of the hive.  She will then go out on a mating flight and return home to continue the original hive.

    Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, usually within a two- or three-week period depending on the locale, but occasional swarms can happen throughout the producing season. Secondary afterswarms, or cast swarms may happen. Cast swarms are usually smaller and are accompanied by a virgin queen. Sometimes a beehive will swarm in succession until it is almost totally depleted of workers.

    Reproduction swarms settle can settle inches from the entrance to up to 20–30 miles away from the natal nest for a few moments to a few days.  They will then depart for a new nest site after getting information from scout bees. Scout bees search for suitable cavities in which to construct the swarm's home. Successful scouts will then come back and report the location of suitable nesting sites to the other bees.

    When you call/email, the following information will be very helpful:

    • Have you found a stationary cluster of thousands of bees?
    • Are they reachable?
    • Will a ladder be needed? How tall?
    • Are they on a tree limb or pole that can be cut or shaken, or are they on/inside something immovable and require a bee vacuum?
    • We'd really love it if you can send us a picture including the ground and a person so we can determine scale/height off the ground.

    Click the picture below to see more examples of swarms.

    Honey Bees Vs. other Bees

    Flying insects can be difficult to identify if they refuse to stop buzzing around our heads. The key attributes to look for when discerning a bee from a wasp is fuzzy vs shiny.

    • Honey bees are fuzzy, as all cute animals should be.
    • Wasps are bald and shiny. Also they are skinny, and have a more pronounced “wasp waist”.

    Click the picture below to see more examples of honey bees vs. other bees and wasps

    BEE REMOVAL "CUTOUT"

    Often we are contacted about honey bees that are no longer in a clump but rather have moved into a tree or small crack in the outside of a home.  These situations are referred to as "cutouts" because the bees can no longer be scooped up, but instead need to be cut out of their location.  This is significantly more difficult.  It requires a beekeeper with special skills in both bees and construction as often areas of the home have to be dismantled in order to get at both the bees and all the wax and honey they have created to make up their home.  People mistakenly think they can avoid a costly fix by simply killing the bees. Not only is that bad for the bees, but if you don't remove the wax and honey, you will just end up with more bees or other bugs moving in to take their place.  Please refer to the Services tab under the Products & Services tab to find a listing of folks who have experience removing hives.  Unlike swarms where you can usually find several beekeepers to take the bees away for free, there may be significant expense involved with hiring someone competent to perform a cutout.  However, each situation is unique so it may not be that bad.

    Click the picture below to see more examples of bee cutouts.


    Person County Beekeepers Association

    Address: PO Box 222 Hurdle Mills, NC 27541

    © 2020 PCBA All Rights Reserved.




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