When summer comes around, it’s not uncommon to see bees buzzing around in their search for nectar and pollen. Most people will spot a honeybee or two throughout the season, but some folks will catch a rarer sight: a honeybee swarm. This cluster of hundreds, if not thousands, of bees can be alarming. After all, many of us know bees as the annoying insects that painfully sting if you get too close. However, a bee swarm—like honeybees in general—is harmless if you simply stay calm and contact the right people. Here’s what to do if you find a honeybee swarm in your yard this summer.
Why Do Honeybees Swarm?
It’s important to understand what a honeybee swarm is and why it’s mostly harmless. In the summer, when bee productivity is high, many honeybee colonies start to outgrow their hives. If this happens, the colony will split up as half the colony leaves in search of a new place to call home. The majority of the colony will find a place to rest, such as in the crook of a tree, while scouting bees search for a good place to build a hive. The bees can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days to decide where to go, which means the swarm might be hanging out for a little while.
Stay Calm and Leave the Swarm Alone
Part of knowing what to do if you find a honeybee swarm in your yard is simply staying calm. If you don’t aggravate or threaten the honeybees, they won’t bother you. Don’t try to scatter the swarm by throwing anything at it or spraying it with water or pesticides. This last tip is particularly important since pesticides can poison and destroy an entire honeybee colony. A swarm might appear intimidating, but honeybees are still crucial parts of pollinating our crops and other food sources. You want to do your best to keep them safe and healthy.
Call a Professional
The honeybee swarm will probably find its dream home and leave your yard without any issue. However, if the swarm is blocking your home or another structure—or if you see the bees start to build a comb—it’s time to call the professionals. Contact a local beekeeper to come and safely remove the swarm. Many beekeepers work to prevent swarming in their colonies, but others will be happy to collect free bees to start a new hive in their apiaries. Either way, a beekeeper will know how to handle the issue without harming you, themselves, or the honeybees.