Honey Bee Rescue/Swarms   - BEE ALERT!

What to do if you see a bee swarm! 

First, let’s help you figure out what you’ve got.

If the nest is in the ground, these are not honey bees.  They are probably yellow jackets.  We can’t help with that.  If they have to go, you can wait until nightfall and pour a bucket of soapy water down that hole.  That usually solves a yellow jacket problem.

If you can see a nest covering that looks like a dull gray paper, those are probably wasps.  We can’t help with that either.

But if you’re looking at a hanging blob of thousands of bees, that may be a honey bee swarm.

Don’t panic – they are quite docile in this state and not at all prone to sting.  It might look like this…

Next comes the question of where the swarm landed.  Bee swarms often land in trees.  However, they can be found about anywhere.  Below is a picture of a bee swarm on an F-18 fighter, just in case you’ve got one of them in your yard.  More seriously, the chief questions are how high and how accessible they are.  Bee swarms are prized by beekeepers, but not if we have to risk broken bones, etc.  If we can get at them, we’ll be happy to give them a new place to live, a hive!  If we can’t, they will leave on their own in a day or two.


Catching a Swarm 

Learn how to catch a bee swarm and install it in a new hive from our friends at Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.

June 2017
From Brushy Mountain Bee Farm

Shane Gebauer, president of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, demonstrates how to capture a bee swarm with the Hipps Swarm Retriever and install it in a super. Knowing how to catch a swarm is important both for capturing new swarms you want to add to your beekeeping operation and for recapturing bees that outgrow your own hives before they travel too far afield. The most important part of capturing a swarm — other than wearing the proper safety equipment — is ensuring you've captured the queen and placed her within the new hive. Otherwise, the rest of the swarm will leave to find her again.

A good indication that you've successfully installed the queen is neat rows of eggs in the frames a few days to a week after you place the swarm in their new home. Once the swarm has settled in, you can start adding honey supers to the hive.


017: Call anyone below and we’ll try to assist you.

Doug Koch540-313-5183Winchester /  Frederick Co.
Lennie Mather540-877-1509Winchester/Fred Co./ Shenandoah Co
 Ed Novak 540-409-6053 Clarke Co./Eastern Frederick Co.
Tom Miller540-664-3200Clarke Co.
Gary McKinney540-336-4946Stephenson
Ricky Hummer540 313-1173Frederick Co.
Ronnie Clevenger540-323-0104Southern Frederick Co. & Warren Co.
Rusty Foltz540-303-1660Southern Frederick Co.
Charlie Brown540-636-4061Warren Co.
David Reese540-636-8669Warren Co.
John Lewis540-931-4390Winchester & Frederick Co.
John O’Connor843-790-9956Winchester & Frederick Co.
Melissa Sylvan540-636-7610Warren Co.
Coach Mack/Harry 540-680-0136 Front Royal, Linden, Markham,Marshall

One more caution:  If the swarm is high up, often the best thing to do is nothing.  We love to rescue honey bee swarms and give them homes in our hives.  However, they are not worth getting injured for.  A swarm will leave where it is located, typically within 24 hours, if you do nothing at all.

For more information, you might look at:

Honey bee swarms

Moving honey bee swarms with bare hands