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Honey Bee Swarms
Spring is honey bee swarm season! In Chesapeake, swarms are most plentiful from late March through June. You may see swarms at other times as well but the peak swarm season is spring.
Honey bee swarms are not produced to frighten unsuspecting citizens who come across a buzzing ball of bees in their landscape but to create a new honey bee colony. The beneficial pollinators are following one of nature’s oldest rituals – starting a new hive during the time of the year when they may store enough honey to make it through the coming winter.
When bees swarm, half of the colony leaves home with their queen to start the new hive. The remaining bees in the old colony will rear a new queen. The issuing swarm is quite spectacular with thousands of bees filling the air with loud buzzing. Slowly they coalesce around their queen on a tree limb or other object.
The swarm on a branch or mailbox is generally only resting while scouts find a suitable cavity for a new home, they typically move on within 24 hours. If you would like the bees removed in a timelier manner, beekeepers would be happy to relocate them for you, usually at no charge.
Because they have no food stores or young to protect, swarms are quite docile and do not pose a threat to people, however, the sight of them can be quite alarming. Please keep children and pets away from swarms in order to prevent an accident.
If you find a swarm of bees on your property, please do not spray them with pesticides, simply call a member from one of the organizations listed below to come capture them and put them back to work pollinating our food crops.
- Beekeepers Guild of Southeast Virginia Swarm Coordinator and Member List
- Tidewater Beekeepers Association's Swarm Removal Coordinator