It's Swarm Season!
Here in the Greater Cincinnati region our season normally begins and ends two weeks to either side of the official last day of frost, May 15th. In recent years, that window has been getting larger as we experience warming winters and springs. Swarms have been caught as early as the first week in April and as late as July and August.
What is a honeybee swarm? “Swarming is the process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, usually within a two- or three-week period depending on the locale, but occasional swarms can happen throughout the producing season.”  It is the method by which honeybees preserve their species and diversify the genetics of the hive.
When a swarm leaves the hive it travels only as far as the queen can fly. The first time bees swarm and leave the hive, they land on a branch or fence nearby forming a tight cluster of bees in a rough football-shape. Once the queen is ready to travel and the new site has been selected, the cluster will fly slowly to the next location creating a cloud of bees nearly 100 feet across. The swarm will then collect in a ball or mass again.
Carriage House Farm replaces winter hive losses by producing their own bees and catching swarms. Swarms can be from another beekeeper’s hive or from a “wild” hive located in a tree or in the wall of a home or business. With good maintenance, the relocated swarms will become main honey producers the following year. We collect swarms by gently brushing the bees into a box, allowing them to climb in themselves, or cutting the branch they are on and resting it in the box. Capturing a swarm usually takes less than an hour.
So, if you see a swarm call our Beekeeper Richard at 513-967-1106 and he, or his assistant Brandon, will come to collect it! 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Are honeybee swarms dangerous?
No. Normally they are sedate. The bees have ingested enough honey to survive for several days and are a bit “honey drunk.” They will defend themselves if provoked. Cold weather and rain can change their mood for the worse.
Can I legally spray them?
In Ohio, yes. But we would prefer that you did not. And we will collect the swarm for you 100% free of charge.
We need honey bees. They are the tiny laborers who pollinate plants thereby creating a huge percentage of all of human beings’ edible crops. And their numbers are dwindling every year.
Swarms will move on in a couple hours unless the temperature drops or it begins raining. If a beekeeper is unable to collect them simply let them be and they will move on. Most pest control companies will not spray swarms so your best bet is a beekeeper.
Do beekeepers charge to remove swarms?
Most often they do not. Carriage House Farm performs this service free of charge.
I have bees in my walls, is this a swarm?
No, most likely it is a colony and has set up residence in your structure and will need to be removed. Spraying to simply kill them will leave dead insects, brood, wax, and lots of honey in the wall and attract other pests. Contact a beekeeper that will do colony removals also called “cut-outs.”
If Carriage House Farm cannot remove my bees is there another beekeeper that can?
Yes. We recommend the following local bee organizations to find a another beekeeper if we are unable to help you. Both groups have extensive lists of beekeepers that remove swarms and/or remove colonies from structure: Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association ( http://www.indianahoney.org/ ) and the Southwestern Ohio Beekeepers Association ( http://www.swohiobeekeepers.com/ )
 Swarming Behavior of Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in Southeastern Louisiana, José D. Villa Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Volume 97, Issue 1, 1 January 2004, Pages 111–116, https://doi.org/10.1603/0013-8746(2004)097[0111:SBOHBH]2.0.CO;2