With the heat arriving in Chilliwack, bee swarms could be more common, like the one recovered by beekeeper Hans Krul in Garrison Crossing last year. (Shaina Partridge photo)

Honeybee swarms can be collected safely in Chilliwack

There’s a community of beekeepers in Chilliwack, and a few swarm collectors too

Hot spring weather can bring out the honeybee swarms.

But there is no need to panic if you see one. There are honeybee “swarm collectors” in Chilliwack who are willing to help.

When a swarm has taken off, that is when they’re relatively docile, without a home or honey to defend.

We’re not talking about wasps or hornets or even bumblebees. But honeybees.

Luckily the Chilliwack Beekeepers community has a few volunteers willing to come collect them for free.

If you see one, the best thing to do in Chilliwack is to contact Laura Delisle, Chilliwack Beekeepers Community Coordinator.

She has only had one call so far this spring.

“With all the hot weather we’ve been having we’ve seen a lot of bee colonies swarm,” said Delisle.

”I think the big worry about swarms is over, as most hives that are going to swarm have already done so over the past three weeks with the heat waves, but that is not to say there isn’t still chances for them.”

Bees typically swarm into June.

There is actually a saying that goes:

“A swarm in May is worth a load of hay, a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon, but a swarm in July is not worth a fly.”

The community coordinator of the bee swarm collectors said she is a little surprised not to have had more calls so far in 2018.

“People are either not seeing them high up in trees, or they are finding homes in nooks and crannies, or there are beekeepers catching them! I have, however, received calls for wasps and bumbles,” Delisle said.

But they can’t help with those.

The Chilliwack Beekeeping Community has a list of dedicated ‘swarm catchers’ in the community, who are happy to come collect a honeybee swarm, free of charge. Call the group coordinator, Laura at 604-819-9278 or email: chilliwackbeekeepers@gmail.com

What is a swarm?

A phenomenon when a large percentage of the population a honeybee hive (thousands upon thousands of bees), make the decision to ‘take off’ and find another home. This may happen for a number of reason: overcrowding in the hive, humidity and temperature issues, etc. While swarm management is a crucial aspect of beekeeping to prevent the loss of bees, swarming is inherent in their nature and so swarms can happen even with the best prevention.

After bees decide to leave the hive, they cluster centered around the queen, until they make up their minds where the next home will be. In this stage, you will find a large clump of bees hanging from a tree or other structure – in which they will stay anywhere from an hour to a week, depending on environmental factors, their ability to find a home, and more.

What should I do if I see a swarm?

Don’t panic. Honeybees in a swarm are at their gentlest – with no home or honey reserve to defend, they are relatively calm and docile.

Contact your local beekeepers. Beekeepers are happy to come and collect the swarm as a free service. They have the equipment and knowledge needed to take care of the swarm.

But do call someone as soon as you spot a swarm. You never know when the bees will decide to change locations – and maybe the next location won’t be as easy to capture (e.g. they might move to a higher elevation (roof tops, tree tops), or inside a building attic/wall, etc.)


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Suspected spill kills hundreds of crayfish, coho in Langley river

A fish kill in the Nicomekl has a biologist concerned for the health of the local ecosystem.

Rams harvest sweet victory in win over Huskers

The Chilliwack team found itself pushed back again and again.

WATCH: Cops for Cancer bring message of hope to Langley school

Young cancer survivors are traveling with the fundraising bike ride.

Boxing coach takes shot at Langley City council run

Dave Allison has lived downtown for years and wants to represent his neighbours.

Driver of pickup stolen from Langley crashes into car in Abbotsford

No serious injuries in collision on Monday night

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Aldergrove soccer forward enjoys scoring spree

UFV Cascades’ Jhaj named Canada West second star of the week

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by B.C. animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for shelter and local municipal election

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Lower Mainland city calls for slower trains near popular beach

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Most Read