Bees in a Boiler
#Honey bee swarming really has get off to a flying start this year.
Am receiving an increased number of calls regarding ‘established’ new honey bee colonies from recent swarms, some are in quite interesting locations.
When referring to ‘new colonies’, the reference is to swarms that have settled into their new home recently and only had time to build three or four honey combs.
Swarm or new colony, the main consideration!
The most important consideration is that bees in swarm have no brood (eggs in comb) so amongst other things, have no need to defend their young, a new colony on the other hand, with honey comb containing brood will defend the brood vigorously.
Appreciate that from a distance you cannot tell if there is brood in the honey comb, hence assume there is brood present, be safe and do not approach.
The poor plumber who opened the boiler in the photo was stung eight times and is quite poorly.
So, whilst I always advise folks that bees in swarm are generally in a good mood and rarely sting unless provoked, do steer clear of newly established colonies (i.e. with comb), they are not in swarm, they will see an attempt to remove them as an attack and will defend themselves.
Always get in touch with your local beekeeping association, they usually have a list of members willing to come out and retrieve the honey bees.
Many beekeepers only collect swarms so be prepared to hear that you may need to get the pest control folks in, however! I will do everything I can to retrieve a honey bee colony, irrespective of whether a swarm, newly established or a fully blown colony.
These wonderful creatures are all worth saving.