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I've been keeping this blog for nine years and now there are over 1200 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

Even if you find one post on the subject, I've posted a lot on basic beekeeping skills like installing bees, harvesting honey, inspecting the hive, etc. so be sure to search for more once you've found a topic of interest to you. And watch the useful videos and slide shows on the sidebar. All of them have captions. Please share posts of interest via Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

Need help with an Atlanta area swarm? Visit Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper.

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Found a Swarm? Call a Beekeeper.

We've had quite the warm winter and it's the time of year in Atlanta when bees are swarming every day.  It's March 16 as I write this and I know of many, many swarms that have already been reported in Atlanta.

Bees swarm in the spring as a way of reproducing the hive.  The hive literally splits in half and the old queen leaves with about half the work force - mostly young bees.  The bees who have been getting ready to swarm for weeks, have their stomachs full of honey and are ready to relocate.

The swarm pours out of the hive in a cloud of what looks like millions of bees but in reality is probably may be about 30,000 bees.  The queen lands somewhere and the bees gather around her, clinging to each other in a large cluster.  Generally the cluster is hanging from something - a branch, a fence, a gutter, although if the queen doesn't fly well, the cluster may form on the ground.

If you see a swarm in your locality - around your house, in your yard, in your neighbor's yard, CALL A BEEKEEPER before you do anything to destroy the bees.

Most beekeepers will not collect bees that have been sprayed with insecticide.

A beekeeper can come collect the swarm and put it in a new, good home.  Killing the bees only causes a release of unnecessary poison into the environment.

Bees in a swarm are not prone to sting.  

Their purpose at that time is to find a new home, not to attack you.  Also their bellies are full of honey, making it much harder to sting.

Generally a swarm hangs in its location only a few days while scout bees go out and find new possibilities for homes - hollow trees, bee boxes, etc.  The bees literally vote on which place seems the best to them and when a democratic decision has been reached, the swarm leaves and moves into the new place.

So even if you don't call anyone, the bees will leave in a few days.  But do call a beekeeper and give the bees an immediate good home.

Things you need to determine when you call a beekeeper for help:

1.  Are these honey bees?  Yellow jackets look like this.  You can see that they are mostly black and yellow.  Honey bees look like this - they are more brown and orange.

2.  How big is the cluster?  Is it the size of a baseball?  A football?  A basketball?

3.  What is the swarm hanging from? (a tree limb, a gutter?)

4.  How high up is the swarm?

5.  When did you first notice the bees?

6.  Have you called anyone else to come?

7.  Have you done anything to harm the bees?  (sprayed them with poison, etc.)

8.  Can you send a picture of the swarm from your phone or camera?

Then call a beekeeper - if you are in the Atlanta area, call me:  


What a swarm may look like:
(also search "swarm" on this blog and you'll find other examples)




This swarm was on a shrub and could be collected from the ground.  Here's the slide show of collecting this swarm.



This swarm in the second photo was high in the tree and required a ladder and a swarm catcher.
Here's a swarm on a shrub.
Here's a swarm on a fence.

3 comments:

  1. We own a nuisance wildlife removal company in the North Atlanta area and if you find you do have bees please,please, please do not use pesticides, bees are way to valuable to kill and many times all you end up doing is pushing them further into the structure costing you more in repairs. Same with yellow jackets you just push them in deeper making our job harder and more costly to remove. If Linda or another bee keeper cant help you for any reason give us a call we have equipment and gear that no bee keeper I have ever met owns helping us to access the problem and determine the scope of the situation.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous1:15 PM

    We live in the N. Phoenix, AZ area, we have a small cluster of bees clinging to the NW top corner of our flat roofed home. They were trying to make a nest inside wall, the upper level above the roof line. I don't want to exterminate them, but I don't want them living in our home either.
    Any suggestions for local bee keepers? I called one place, they want $695 to exterminate them, claiming that all AZ bees are Africanized. I don'r believe that to be true. The bees have not moved since last evening, they are about the size of a 12" piza pie, about 1.5" thick.
    Pleaser help.
    Thanks,
    Angelo

    ReplyDelete
  3. If you'll look in Google for treatment free beekeepers in Arizona, there are many. However, nobody will typically remove bees from inside your wall for free. Beekeepers typically collect swarms for free, but bee removal from inside a house is difficult to say the least and isn't done for free.

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