What to do if you find a Honey Bee Swarm?
What do you do if you find a Honey Bees Swarm on Staten Island?
By Nick Rozak of Green Stinger Trading
This article was featured in a Staten Island Advance Article in April 2021. Check out the article HERE.
First, DO NOT panic! Swarming Honey Bees are relatively safe despite there scary appearance. The bees form a huge cluster to protect the Queen Bee and to regulate the temperature of the cluster. Most of the bees you are looking at are so bloated with Honey and other resources that they can not physically use their stingers nor fly correctly.
Second, Call a Beekeeper! We all need to help restore the bee population, they need your help as much as we need them to survive. Beekeepers will help safely remove the bees from your property and relocate them into a new home. Sending us a Photo of the location helps a lot so we know what equipment to bring. DO NOT call an exterminator, if you do call a good exterminator they will call a beekeeper in turn anyway. If they are not so good they might attempt to kill them and charge you for it. Honey Bee Swarm Removal is normally FREE.
DO NOT spray them! Just leave them alone. Swarms that form clusters like this are simply resting as Scout bees go out looking for a new home. They are not planning to stay at that location for more then a few days at most.
In NYC, Beekeepers try to remove all the swarms we can because there is very little natural habitat left for them, the chance of them dying or moving into an attic or garage is very high. When a Beekeeper applies for a NYC Beekeeping permit, we all agree to help remove these swarms. If you don’t call a beekeeper soon enough and bees to move into you walls and start building a new hive, that will be a totally different removal that will cost you.
More Information if you are interested.
What are the bees doing? Honey Bees are a Super Organism that can only survive in colonies, or hives. Swarming is how Honey Bees create new hives. Once or twice a year a healthy hive will split in two, create a new Queen and send the old queen away with half the bees to form a new hive somewhere else. Seeing Honey Bee Swarms in your neighborhood a great sign that your environment is improving and that the Bees are healthy, the plants are healthy. After the old Queen and the chosen bees leave the hive they form a Cluster, anywhere while they wait for the Scout Bees to find a good location to build a new hive. This may take a few days. The Location of the Cluster is very random, normally in a tree, but on Staten Island it could be on the side of your house, on a car, a bike or patio umbrella.
What is the Beekeeper going to do? Once a Beekeeper sees the swarm and decides the location is safe to work (not on an electric wire or traffic light for example), the beekeeper will set up a box and try to “shake” most of the bees into the box. Hoping to see the queen, but we might not. Once most of the bees are in a safe box, we wait, some times until after sunset for all the Scout bees to come back so we can get them in the box as well. The Bees will know that the Queen Bee has moved into the box and will naturally follow her in. Once the Beekeeper feels all the bees are in the box and not flying anymore, we will transport them away and set them up in a local apiary.
How do you find a Beekeeper? If you know one, great, call them first! At Green Stinger Trading we have a team of 3 Beekeepers that are trained and ready to respond on Staten Island. If you call 311 or 911, the NYPD has an official beekeeper that will safely remove them, but if the bees are in a safe location using a local Beekeeper is preferred.
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