The Value of Honey Bees

Honeybees are one of the most beneficial of all insects. Honey is humanity’s oldest sweet, and beeswax was the first plastic. Today, honeybees provide these and other valuable hive products. In addition, thousands of beekeepers in the United States keep bees for fun and profit.

Honeybees are important pollinators of almonds, apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, cranberries, cucumbers, forage crops, kiwifruit, squash and watermelons.

What Is a Honey Bee Swarm?

Honeybee colonies reproduce by a process called swarming. During mid-winter, the queen begins laying eggs and the colony population grows. By spring, the hive is congested with many new bees. The colony raises a new queen and the old queen flies away accompanied by more than half the bees.

This flying swarm temporarily clusters on an object, such as a tree branch, while scout bees search for a permanent site. A hanging swarm may assume any shape, depending on the surface on which it is clustered. Most hanging swarms are round or oval, about the size of a basketball, and dark brown.

Swarms in the clustered stage are relatively gentle, and the risk of stings is low. Nevertheless, treat swarms with caution. A swarm usually relocates to a permanent nest -- a hollow tree, abandoned beekeeper's hive, or inside a hollow wall -- within 24 hours.

Options for Dealing with Swarms

If a honey bee swarm lands on your property:

  • Do not disturb it. Keep pedestrians, children and pets away from the swarm.
  • If the swarm is safely located away from animals and people, you may wait for it to fly away on its own.
  • We can capture the swarm, usually at no charge, and put the bees in a new hive.  This is the safest way to deal with a swarm, and the bees benefit by having a great new home!

Remember, honeybees are beneficial insects and are not aggressive. However, they will defend their nest if they perceive a threat. If you encounter flying honeybees, calmly walk away from them and never swat them. Swatting only threatens them and increases the chance of a sting.

If you have a swarm, you may call us, however please make sure it is HONEYBEES first and not something else. We aren't exterminators.

Call Frank Ruthkosky at 484-678-1938 (do not email regarding swarms, as timing is very important.)