Information for Bee Rescuers
• Anticipate that you will get a call by having the required equipment ready. Containers, ladders etc.
• When the person calls announcing he or she needs someone to retrieve a swarm, you should tell the caller not to disturb the swarm or spray it with water, soap or pesticide.
• The caller may be excited or even alarmed. Calm the caller by explaining what is happening and that swarming honey bees are not defensive or dangerous unless disturbed.
• Explain that a swarm might move from the original location within a few hours; therefore they may go back into the air.
• Ask questions to improve your chance of success in collecting the swarm.
If you are unable to collect the swarm ask the caller to call the next person on the SABA swarm list for their area. Try your best to return calls to anyone who left voicemails or texts to make sure that they were able to make contact with a swarm rescuer. Consider adding a short message to your voicemail with instructions for the information you will need from the caller and any times you know that you will not be available for swarm collection so that they can call the next person on the list for immediate help.
Questions to Ask about Swarms:
1.Ask questions Are these really honey bees? Ask them what the “cluster looks like.” How long have the bees been there?
These are the most important question to ask when someone calls you about a swarm.
The general public refers to any grouping of bees as a swarm, but in the beekeeping world, only a newly arrived colony meets the criteria for the name. If the bees have been in one location longer than a week, they will have built some comb. Once the bees build comb, they are no longer a swarm and they are more challenging to remove.
2. Get permission from the landowner/homeowner to collect the swarm from his or her property ask the caller if they are the owner.
3. Be sure to write down the name, address and phone number, including work number of the homeowner or someone who will be on site.
4. Ask for directions of how to find the swarm location, including where on the property.
5. Have you done anything to the swarm?
Unfortunately, homeowners sometimes attempt to get rid of the bees themselves before they call a beekeeper. Often they spray swarms with water in an attempt to get them to leave. This usually has the reverse affect. The poor, soggy bees end up crawling all over the ground, unable to fly. This, too, can result in a dead or damaged queen and it may be more challenging to get the bees to gather in your box
6. How high off the ground are they? Will you need a ladder?
7. How big is the swarm (beach ball, football size, etc.)?
8. Have them remove pets from the area ASAP.
Have them send several pictures so you can gauge the situation correctly.
If you are new to catching swarms contact several of the People on the List many will allow you to help - so you can learn.
Sign Up for the SABA Swarm List:
Swarm Catcher List
Add your name / Change your information / Locations
Your Email address Will Not Be Listed on the Website unless you put it in the Comments.
The list is rotated every week or so.
This information will be shared in a Bubble map on a members only page and at the next years Swarm Meeting.
No individual location data will be shared.
If you want to hide a location provide a cross street within 500'
Swarm & Hive Mapping
More information at the Feb Swarm Meeting.