What can I do about honey bee swarms in my home?
With the domestic honeybee in a global health crisis, pesticides are even less of an acceptable option to dealing with swarms around the home. But when homeowners see a swarm they often call a pest control operator or reach for a pesticide container to first before considering other options. They should ask themselves -- what can I do to get rid of the bees without killing them?
More and more local beekeeper organizations are offering swarm removal as a public service. The Virginia State Beekeepers Association has a link to most local beekeeper organizations in Virginia. Many offer swarm removal through a link or page on their websites.
Here is a list of important information to have before contacting a beekeeper:
- What does the swarm look like? If the swarm has a “nest” then it is
likely not honey bees but hornets or wasps especially if it is “papery”
looking. A swarm of honey bees will cluster into a roughly round shape
on an object like a tree branch.
- Where is the swarm (physical address)?
- Contact name and phone number.
- What has the swarm landed on? How high up is the swarm?
- Are there any special concerns in the area? (children, water hazards, bees in the house etc).
A beekeeper is a good source of information as to how to handle each situation with a swarm. Another source is your local Extension agent. For this information go to: http://www.ext.vt.edu/offices.