Swarm season for bees: What to do & why you shouldn't panic

Discovery Place Nature

Honeybee swarm season is upon us. We've had three swarms at Discovery Place Nature already this month!

Although swarms may look menacing, they actually do not pose any danger to us. A swarm is where honeybees have split from a larger hive. 

The bees have decided that it is too crowded. About 40% or more of the bees in the original hive leave and follow the existing queen outside to a gathering area. 

The honeybees are essentially homeless. Without a home to defend, they are quite docile. At this point, they are waiting as scout bees search for a suitable location for a new hive. 

Unfortunately, with the recent cold weather and other difficulties these swarms face, few of them survive the big move to become a new colony.  

So what should you do if you see a swarm like this in or around your neighborhood? 

Call a local beekeeper! Beekeepers will come out, capture the swarm and move it to a new hive, in their bee yard or another beekeeper's bee yard. This way, the bees will have a much better chance to survive than if they were left alone. 

For more information, check out our local and state beekeeping organizations:

Want to safely see a beehive in action? Stop by the Naturalist Lab during regular Museum hours to check out our observation hive.

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  • Written by
  • From the Director
  • Marvin Bouknight

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