KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A woman in Hardin Valley enlisted help on Facebook after discovering a recurring group of bees outside her home.
Kristen Gann wanted to find a way to safely remove the bees from her front yard without causing them harm.
“Yesterday, they came back, I let the dogs out and they were everywhere, and I thought, ‘Oh gosh’ and so I just thought from there, I don’t want to kill any of them because honeybees seem to be kind of in short supply, so I decided to take to Facebook and see if there were any beekeepers out there,” Gann said.
A beekeeper in the neighborhood saw the post and was willing to help.
“He has a bee box that he’s placed over there, he said, ‘Look, I’ll set this here we’ll see if we can draw them out,'” she said.
The beekeeper identified them as mason bees, a species that does not sting and pollinates at high rates. Jeff Greenwood is the president of the Knox County Beekeepers Association and said there are a few ways to tell a mason bee apart from a honeybee.
“Mason bees have a small abdomen because they don’t have a stinger, and they have mostly black hairiness to them, smaller bodies,” Greenwood said.
Unlike mason bees, honeybees may swarm but he said they may not be as threatening as they seem.
“When you see a swarm like that, they’re no longer in their nest, they’re no longer protecting larvae or honey, so they’re not particularly aggressive, a swarm itself, they’re just looking for their next home. A bee dies when they sting you, so to commit suicide to protect nothing, it just doesn’t make sense,” Greenwood said.
With the bee population on the decline, the insect has become protected livestock in the state of Tennessee.
Greenwood said it is important to remove them properly without killing them.
“Fruit trees of all nature, and many of them nut trees, almonds and so on require a lot of pollinators and as do a lot of garden vegetables, and just things that we generally eat,” he said.
Gann is encouraging others to seek safe ways to remove unwanted bees.
“I’ve learned a ton about bees in the last two days that I probably would not have otherwise known, and made me even more interested in making sure we relocate them,” she said.
Greenwood also said local bee groups and extractors can remove bee swarms and colonies in a safe way.