What is a swarm?
When honeybees are in search of a new, they swarm. The queen can’t fly very far so will land somewhere like a tree branch or a fence post and while she takes a break, the rest of the bees will cover her in a protective ball and scout bees will leave to search for the new home. Sometimes the scout bees can find a new location in a day, but sometimes it takes a few days.
While swarming bees might look scary, they are relatively harmless. Their focus is on finding a new home, so do not have a reason to be territorial yet. You might be tempted to call an exterminator or try to spray them yourself, but honeybees are protected under the agriculture act, and many beekeepers will come collect the swarm for free.
What can I do if I discover a swarm?
- Figure out if they are wasps, bumblebees, or honeybees. If they are wasps, a beekeeper can’t help you.
Wasps: hairless, build grey paper nests
Bumblebees: very furry, hunched shoulders
Honeybees: Less furry, thinner than a bumblebee.
- Take photos. This will greatly help the beekeeper.
- Contact someone. Email with the photos, your general location and phone number, a description of the swarm location, and if they are honeybees or bumble bees. Very few beekeepers collect bumble bees, but some do, so don’t give up!
Who can I contact?
- Green Box Bees (Honeybees Only):
Location: Okotoks/Foothills | email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Facebook: @GreenBoxBees
- Calgary & District Beekeepers Association:
Location: Calgary/Calgary District | Website: Here
- Edmonton District Beekeepers Association:
Location: Edmonton/Edmonton District | Website: Here
- City of Lethbridge Swarm Response Line:
Location: Lethbridge | Website: Here | Phone: (403)393-2058