Save, don’t spray, honeybee swarms

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Warm, spring days have triggered hives of honeybees to release swarms across the state and several local bee groups are offering free removal.

Swarms of bees can look scary, but are easy to remove. Bees that have split off into a swarm don’t have a hive yet. Beekeepers can easily scoop up the group of bees and settle them into a hive. The bees will then be moved to a local apiary to help pollinate local fruits and crops.

Before calling a local removal group, it is important to be sure the swarm is of honeybees. Yellow jackets can look similar.

Bee swarms at this stage are usually not aggressive. The bees primary priority is finding a new location to make a hive. Some beekeepers will scoop up swarms using only gloves. Others will lure bees into a premade hive using pheromones. Once bees begin making a hive, removal is much more difficult.

One group, the Honey Bee Guys from Rockford, will remove and rescue bees from established hives. This typically takes four to five hours to complete. While swarm removals are free, there is a charge for hive removal since the process is so extensive.  Many local beekeeping clubs also offer free hive removal services.

Ross Karasiewicz runs the Rockford company. He says Honey Bee Guys is the only licensed and insured group to offer hive removal. Karasiewicz says as a builder, he can also repair damage correctly once a hive is removed.

Honey bees are dying off at a rapid rate across the nation. They are crucial to the successful pollination of local crops and fruits. Some fruits like blueberries and cherries are 90 percent dependent on bee pollination according to the American Beekeeping Federation.


Online:Holland Area Beekeepers AssociationGrand Rapids Beekepers ClubKalamazoo Bee ClubCenter of Michigan Beekeepers

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