Bee Swarms Natural at This Time of the Year, Expert Says

By: Brian Shields - Thu, 19 Apr 2012 00:19:18 -0800

SAN RAMON (KRON) -- Swarms of bees seen in many parts of the Bay Area over the last few weeks are nothing to be alarmed at, beekeepers say.

In Concord, caution tape is up around one bee swarm that has appeared to grow in recent days in the Four Corners neighborhood.

KRON 4's Dan Kerman suited up in protective gear to visit a professional beekeeper in San Ramon.

"This is entirely natural for this time of the year," beekeeper Brian Wort tells Dan.  

Here's what's going on, the expert says.  Beginning in February, the queen bee in each hive starts laying between 1,500 and 2,000 eggs every day.  As those hatch, the hive starts to grow quickly.

"At some point the hive gets congested and they'll raise a new queen," Wort says.  "Just before she's born she makes a piping sound and that signals the old queen to take half the hive and leave and find a new place to nest.  That's what swarming is."

If you see a big swarm, don't assume the bees plan to stay there.

"They're in between nests," Wort adds.  "They're resting while the scouts are out looking for a new place to build a hive."

Wort says the bees' natural inclination is not to sting you or attack humans so you should avoid swatting at them.  Instead call a beekeeper who can remove the insects from the area.  These swarms tend to stay around until about June.

(Copyright 2012, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)
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