The girls are working hard
Help with Swarms
Welcome to the website for the Monterey Bay Beekeepers. We are mostly hobbyists, with a wide range of skills and hives. There are some professionals with many hives in many locations, and many who will remove bees that that move in to homes where people are living. It’s called extracting. There is a list here of those who specialize in extractions, and those who simply will pick up swarms.
This is how bees reproduce. They are not very dangerous. It is an amazing natural phenomenon. If they were people moving, they would have a pickup truck with a mattress tied to a bunch of furniture, and driving carefully down the freeway. The swarm happens when they run out of room in their old hive, or when the queen is near the end of her life, they swarm. Scouts have looked in a five-mile radius for suitable new homes, bees from the hive have been invited and gone to the most popular site to see and judge the new home.
Invitation by a dance
How does the invitation work? A dance. A scout dances for the hive. The dance pattern is a sales pitch that tells the bees what, where, and how far a new food source or a new home can be found. A few will go to check the new site out. If they approve, the queen stops eating so she can fly, and one day half of them leave with the old queen. It is almost magical to see a hive swarm, or to see a swarm settle into a place they’ve chosen to live and set up a new home. The ones you see hanging on a bush, a car’s spare tire, in a tree, or a buzzing cloud of bees are on their way to a new home. If they are flying, a swarm, they are on their way to what they now call home. They are full of honey, their only interest protecting the queen as the future of the colony.
A rehiving rescue
Contact one of the people near where you see the bees. If they’ve moved into your house somehow, call someone that does extractions. If they are just hanging out on your fence, or on a bush, call someone that will “re-hive” them, someone who will safely collect them and put them in a new home the scouts may have missed. You may get to watch, you may someday want to do it too, and you would be welcome. It is possible to learn.