Bees in my yardgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
A question on bees - Yesterday we came home to find a huge "swarm?" of bees in our little cherry tree, about 10 feet from our house. I called our local extension office for suggestions on what to do about them, they recommended an exterminator!! I do not know much, but I think I know enough to not want to kill these bees. I think they are honey bees. We have 3 small children, so I am concerned and do not want them in our yard. As of late yesterday afternoon, the majority of them left--I do not know where they went - but there are still a bunch that stayed in the tree, in the same location. Will the others come back? Could they be on their way somewhere? We live in Missouri, if this information will help. I do not know of any local beekeepers, as we are fairly new to the area, although we do have Amish close by. Any info will be helpful, even tho I don't want them in our yard, it was so neat to see that upclose, amazing, actually. THANKS!!
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 24, 2000
The bees are generally docile when they swarm. In fact at a local honey festival, people put swarms on bees on their faces, (a honey bee beard). They are following a queen to start a new colony. I wouldn't expect them to come back. the few remaining one should leave soon. If you don't know any bee keepers and don't want to keep them yourself, some smoke from burning a few handfulls of straw will get them on there way.
-- Rich (email@example.com), May 24, 2000.
I used to believe that old saw about swarming bees not stinging. I agree that if most of the bees have left, the rest probably will not return. If they left, it's because they found a good place to start a new hive. Be on the lookout for them though, they like to move into hollow trees, abandond water heaters, anything with a hollow inside that is dark and cool. For future use, call the local fire dept or sherrif's office. Many times the local beekeepers will leave thier names and numbers there to be notified of available swarms. The local library and radio station might also have this info.
-- Les (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 24, 2000.
Thank You for the answers! They are now gone - I placed a bale of hay by the tree and lit it, the smoke was thick and in no time they had left. Thanks again! I will keep an eye out to see if the whole bunch might have taken up residence somewhere else on the property.
-- WENDY (email@example.com), May 24, 2000.
My husband hived three swarms last year from the same yard -- in looking around, we realized that the swarms were coming from a "hive" in the walls of the house, with an opening up too high to ordinarily be noticeable. The woman who lived there said that she'd had a swarm in her yard five years earlier -- so we suspect she'd had a nest in her house all that time. You might want to walk around your house -- or any other buildings on the property -- and look carefully for signs of regular bee traffic to and from one particular location. If you should suspect a hive in your walls, ask around and find a beekeeper to help get them out -- it entails tearing the wall apart, usually, because if you just kill the bees, their wax and honey will remain, and either attract another swarm, or other pests that like to feed on such goodies. It would be a good idea to know the beekeepers in your area, because if you should ever get another swarm in your yard, they could come remove it for you, and would probably be glad to get it. Also, sometimes, people who are trying to get into beekeeping will want to find a swarm to get started with. If you can't find a beekeeper in your area by just asking around, ask the county extension agent.
-- Kathleen Sanderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 24, 2000.
I might add a little to the comments already received. Swarming is the honey bees' way of creating two colonies from one. The "old" queen leaves with a third to half or more of the mature workers seeking a new home, leaving behind younger workers who, by that stage, already have begun the process of raising a new queen. When you see a swarm, you should assume the "parent" colony is somewhere nearby, probably within a mile or two. Given the devastation of feral colonies by varroa mites, etc., in recent years, chances are the swarm came from someone's hive. Also, swarming can occur more than once per season. The earlier in the year the swarm can be caputured, the greater its potential value to beekeepers because late swarms cannot build up in time to capitalize on the summer nectar flow. There is little or no potential profit in a late June or July swarm across much of the U.S., so don't expect most beekeepers to remove late swarms for free. If one does, he or she is simply doing you a favor.
-- Rog (email@example.com), May 26, 2000.