Large numbers of bees swarming in a tree, in your garden, or around your home can be unnerving, especially if they establish a hive within your house. However, bee swarms and bee colonies can be safely managed if you follow careful procedures and get proper help.
WHAT IS A BEE SWARM?
Swarming is the honey bee’s method of colony reproduction. The old queen and about half of the worker bees leave their former nest and seek a new home, usually in the spring but sometimes at other times of the year when local conditions permit. Swarms such as the one pictured here are merely colonies that are in transition. Normally these swarms are found hanging from tree limbs, fence post or any place where the swarm can gather close to the queen while scouts are sent out to look for a more permanent home. If left alone these swarms will only be in place from just a few minutes to a few hours and will disappear just a quick as they arrived. Generally these swarms are very docile and the swarming bees usually will not sting. When Honey Bees swarm they gorge themselves with honey for energy and food stores in their new home.
SWARM REMOVALS: If you believe you have a swarm of bees located on your property and would like to have them removed, please call your local beekeeping group or one of the registered bee removal specialists in your county. Beekeepers will often come out for swarm pick ups for free or for the price of gas, it depends on the beekeeper, location, and difficulty level required to gather the swarm. Some swarm pick ups will require multiple trips depending on whether the queen is captured and how many forager/scout bees are out at the time of removal. Usually most of the bees will be removed on the first try, but a small fist-size swarm may still continue to gather for a few days, then finally dissipate as they realize the queen is no longer in the area. Without a queen (or young larva to turn into a new queen) the colony can not survive, and they will leave.
WHAT IS A BEE COLONY?
If you have a bee colony that has taken up residence in your home, another structure, a vehicle, or a tree on your property that is NO LONGER a swarm, it is a permanent colony. That takes much more work and expertise to REMOVE from its habitat. There is likely comb and honey and baby bees hidden away from view that must be dealt with in a very careful manner in order to preserve as much of the colony as possible to ensure survival once they are placed into a new bee box. Most removals also require cutting or removing wood or other parts of a building in order to gain access to the bees. Some Bee Specialists are also carpenters who may offer to REPAIR the structure as well for a fee.
Removals are not FREE, sorry, it’s way too much work in the heat, in a bee suit. Removals can be VERY difficult. You must be prepared to pay for the beekeepers time and travel on all removals.
Please be prepared to provide as much information as possible to the bee specialist when you call us! Also if you can take and either email or text some photos, that is very helpful! 😉
Some questions we will ask you include:
1. How long have the bees been there?
2. What type of structure are they in or on?
3. How high up in the tree or structure are they, and will we need to bring a ladder?
4. Have you already tried some other measures to get the bees to leave that was unsuccessful?
– called an exterminator or sprayed an insecticide or other substance
– smoked or burned an area around the bees
– cut the tree down or attempted the removal
– plugging the holes
– spraying soapy water
5. Are the bees stinging anyone or behaving aggressively toward people or pets?
6. How soon do the bees need to be removed? Bees that are in a living tree (that you don’t want cut down) can take a month or longer to remove using a “Trap-Out Method”, for example.
A brief list of currently Registered Bee Removal Specialists in Travis County
Brandon Fehrenkamp (512) 569-6270 – www.AustinBees.com (removals and swarms)
Keith Morgan (830) 632-6591
Steven Pankratz (210) 880-5514
Chuck Reburn (512) 560-5575 – www.BeeFriendlyAustin.com (swarms only)
Braden Smoot (512) 850-3589
John Swan (512) 677-7404 – www.WickedBeeRemoval.com (Removals & Swarms)
Pamela Yeamans (512) 748-5611
Michael Zambrano (254) 368-9880
To view a full list for Travis County, or to view all Texas Counties – CLICK HERE