Swarms are nature’s way to increase healthy honey bee populations. Swarm season occurs, in Lower Michigan, usually around the second week of May and can continue through August. Swarms occur when an established honey bee colony outgrows the area they currently occupy and they will then prepare to “split” the hive by swarming. The nurse bees will feed the established queen much less than normal, thus allowing her to thin down enough be able to fly. They will then make a new queen who is destined to assume the throne of the existing hive. The original queen will then leave the hive, with approximately 1/2-1/3 of young worker bees, to find a new home. They will often settle in a large cluster within a few hundred yards of the original hive and begin sending out scouts to find a new home. Once a suitable home is found, they all move in and begin the establishment of a new hive. Swarming is an incredible event in nature and few people have had the opportunity to witness the event. Please see our videos as we have captured several swarms for your viewing pleasure. We are happy to come, and retrieve, swarms…at no cost, within Jackson County, Mi. We will provide them with a new home and they will provide us with healthy bee stock.
There are many ways to catch a swarm and I have included different video clips of various ways I have caught swarms. I often get calls stating “I have a swarm of bees in my tree”, “I have a swarm of bees on my house” and even “We have a swarm of bees on our fence”. Our most common swarm catch is from bees hanging from branch and these are simply shaken, or the branch is trimmed, and put into a swarm box. The bees are then taken to the apiary at Ole Bearz Bees and put into their new home hive. I also build “Swarm Catchers” which are basically a box places about 8-12 feet from the ground and baited with either old honeybee comb, lemon grass oil or a queen pheromone lure. Scout bees find these boxes and often convince the swarm to move in to start a new hive.