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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Local beekeepers are your swarm resources

To follow-up to recent posts on honeybees, for anyone requiring the removal of a honeybee swarm, here are some wonderful local beekeepers who may be able to help:

Jody Eberhart 406-690-1113
Roberta Jones 724-433-6626
Sharon D'agostino 724-787-2874
Here are some commonly asked questions about honeybee swarms:
Are the bees dangerous, and will they sting? Not usually. The bees are looking for a new place to call home. If the bees have decided this is their new home, then there is an increased risk of them being agitated as they are protecting their new home. Otherwise, they have no home to protect... and they are often quite docile. However, discretion is advised. Call a beekeeper and have them come get the bees. Don't kill them. We depend on the bees more than they depend on us!
What causes a swarm? An overcrowded hive naturally casts swarms (mostly in the spring) in its effort to populate, and survive. The bees build one or more cells in the old hive, and then the queen and half or more of the bees leave to find and build a new home. These are the swarms that we see in our tree or under our porch... and if left to their own devices, sometimes in the wall of your house!
Can I spray them or burn them out? Please, NO! Honeybees are valuable to humanity... and are the reasons we have fruits, nuts and most of the produce we consume every day. With no bees, we would starve. Beekeepers are already fighting mites, CCD, and a plethora of other problems trying to re-populate the bees. Again, is not as difficult as you might think; call the beekeepers above . Honey bees are not our enemy!
Are the really, really honeybees?
Beekeepers want to know if you really have honeybees before they make the trip out. It's very important. A beekeeper is not equipped to remove or exterminate other bees. During the springtime especially, a beekeeper is usually happy to remove your honeybees for free... and they are prioritizing other bee removals to come see you. Please help identify your bees and make sure they really are honeybees before having a beekeeper come out. Use the chart below to see the difference between honeybees and other common bees.

Here are some question you should be prepared to answer:

  • Are they definitely honeybees? 
  • Where are they? In a tree, in your house, etc?
  • How high from the ground are they?
  • How long have they been there?
  • How big is the ball of bees? i.e. Basketball, footbal-sized?
  • How accessible are they? If they are in your wall, is there a space inside to get at them? Do they have to be cut out? Would you consider such an option?
  • Is there electric available near the bees?
  • Have you called anyone else? It's frustrating to make a trip only to find that someone else was called and arrived first. If you call one of us, we'll always come and get it. If for some reason we can't, we'll immediately call a fellow beekeeper who can make it.