KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — While spring is in the air, so are honeybee swarms in East Tennessee amid the pollinators’ reproductive season. People have been sharing on social media in beekeeping groups the emergence of swarming clusters of bees in the area.
According to the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, swarming is induced as bees increase their population size and require more space; plus, changing weather conditions from cool/rainy to warm/sunny seem to stimulate bees’ natural urge to swarm.
What happens in a honeybee swarm?
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture says most swarms leave their original colony in good weather and fly to a nearby structure like a tree and land on it. Immediately after landing and for the next 24 to 36 hours, the bees show “very docile temperament,” because they are interested in swarming, not defending.
Scout bees then emerge from the cluster of the swarm in order to search the area for a protected location to move the colony. Then, after the scout bees communicate the information to the swarm, the bees leave and go to that scouted safe location.
Once they arrive at that scouted location, the bees then build a wax comb and the queen, which they had been protecting in the swarm, lays eggs to start a new brood nest.
After brood production, the new colony will then become defensive.
Preparing for a honeybee swarm
Tenn. Ag. says that usually, a swarm will move from the original location within 24 to 48 hours; so if a beekeeper is not available to collect the bees from a homeowner’s or business’s property, the bees will normally leave without causing a problem.
If you’re not a professional beekeeper or an expert in swarm retrieval, you can call one or wait for the swarm to move on naturally.
If you see a swarm of bees, don’t harm them. Call a swarm removal expert. The Knox County Beekeepers Association has more information on who to call for swarm removal.
Save the bees
Later this month on May 20, the United Nations will celebrate World Bee Day in order to promote and strengthen measures aimed at protecting the pollinators. The hashtags, #SaveTheBees and #WorldBeeDay will often “bee” seen as the agency and partners promote awareness of the day.
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You can also help save the bees, as they’re crucial to human food production – here’s more information.