There is a proportion of society who suffer from melissophobia, or apiphobia as it also known, which in plain English, is an intense fear of bees. Just like most phobias, this manifests itself in the form of extreme anxiety, with symptoms that include: increase in heart rate, shortness of breath and nausea, which for many can be overwhelming.

Even if people are not categorized with any of the above, they will not want a swarm of bees taking up residence in their neighbourhood and will look for ways of initiating safe and responsible bee removal, as extermination is always discouraged and indeed rarely necessary.

Beekeepers will always look to try and collect and relocate a swarm. Among the different methods that they undertake in their capture, is one which can only be carried out on sunny days and if the bees have set up home in a tree. This involves a white sheet being placed underneath the location of the nest and then a nucleus (nuc) box placed upon it. The swarm is then sprayed with a sugar based solution which has the effect of soaking the insects, rendering them too heavy to fly off.

The nest is then shaken vigorously from the branches in the hope that the main cluster, ideally including the queen, will fall onto the sheet and immediately head for the first dark space they spot, which will be the opening to the nuc. After around 15 minutes the vast majority of the swarm will have found their way into the box and is very much a preferred method.

If however, this operation is not possible, an alternative is to use a skep, which is essentially an upturned straw basket. This is suspended over the nest and smoke is gently blown at the swarm to basically herd the bees into the skep, although this procedure can cause many of the bees to become agitated and consequently fly away from the desired destination. A swarm of bees can be quite an alarming site, but they are usually not aggressive unless provoked, so the important thing is to keep a good distance from the colony, until a safe bee removal can be affected.

When honey bees emerge from their hive ready to swarm, they will not initially fly too far away. They are likely to gather just metres away from the hive and cluster around the queen for probably just a few hours and certainly not more than a couple of days. Then several dozen scouts are dispatched to determine suitable new nesting locations.

It is the honey bee, rather than the bumblebee that causes the main domestic problems. The bumblebee is actually seasonal, whereas the honey bee colony grows in number, year after year, with anything up to 50,000 being a reasonable average. If they set up home in buildings the weight of their honey can genuinely bring down ceilings and severely block chimneys and cavity walls.

Swarming is actually, in the main, a spring process and creates quite a vulnerable period in the life of a honey bee. They can die of starvation if they cannot quickly settle into a new home, so bearing in mind their pollinating importance to nature, these complex social colonies should always be allowed to have safe a responsible removal by experts like Pro Pacific Pest Control.

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