It is getting to be that time of year. The days are warming, the flowers are blooming, the trees have blanketed their branches with leaves, and honeybees are looking for new homes.
Each spring, after the long cold nights of winter, honeybee populations begin replenishing. With such a tiny body mass, the entire colony must huddle together around their queen to keep warm. Not all of them survive, so they have to get right back to work and rebuild their colonies.
What is a bee swarm, really?
Yesterday, City of Dallas staff were called about two swarms of honeybees downtown. These buzzing clusters are the result of bee colonies splitting. The mature queen leaves new queen cells behind in the old hive while taking about half of the colony with her to a new location. This preserves diversity, and ensures that the new queen has the resources she needs – a safe hive, food, and workers – to build her own colony. As the swarm seeks out new shelter, they often land at random and gather to rest, feed, or, if conditions are right, build a new colony.
It can be quite a sight to behold. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of honeybees swirling around a single point. In most cases, the frenzy is of little danger to us, even at ground level; remember, there is no brood or food to defend. But, you should still keep your distance – listen to your instincts. And above all else, do not overreact if you find yourself face to face with a swarm. Don’t swat at them or try to “persuade” them to move. They will respond to what they perceive to be threats.
Rescue and Relocation
As the City works to increase awareness around the vital role these and other pollinators play, we are happy to report that the two swarms in downtown were removed by professionals and relocated! If you happen to spot a swarm, we invite you to reach out to Green Dallas or to your local beekeepers for assistance. Remember, in addition to delicious honey, honeybees pollinate the crops we eat and the flowers we enjoy, and provide an immense service in our ecosystem. Thanks for helping us protect the balance!
Read our book on how you can help protect pollinators, while controlling pests.