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A Problem Resolved Using Our "Ask The Beekeeper" Service

Below is an actual series of e-mails between a web site visitor and our "Ask The Beekeeper" service.

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subject=New hive?
comments=I live in southern California, semi rural area. Today we had a bee swarm end up in our backyard and is starting what looks like a hive. We love and respect bees, but we have a very active 2 year old daughter that loves to play outside and we worry about her getting stung. What can I do to discourage them from staying while not harming them? They are right in our patio area where our little one plays.
Thank you,
Ken

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Hi Ken:

You say it looks like they are starting up a hive. Honey bees start up a hive inside something – in nature it could be inside a hole in a tree. My problem is that you say “it looks like they are starting up a hive”. I can’t help unless I know very specifically what they are doing. Have they gone inside something like maybe a cooking unit in your patio – just what very specifically are they doing? If they are just clustering on a bush or something they are not starting up a hive – they are staying there while scout bees are out looking for a good place to start up a hive, which does not mean necessarily close by. These scout bees are coming and going and actually telling the group about the place they found. Somehow, at some point, they will decide on one specific place reported by a scout bee and then they will take off and disappear going to that place.

So, to be of any help toy you I need details about what they are doing. Until I know that I really can’t be of any help.

Ask The Beekeeper

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We have an old tall wood dresser under a patio cover we use to store toys etc in. They first went inside the drawers so I pulled the drawers out now you can see them inside this dresser where the drawers used to be. They have been there for about 6 hours now. I could email a picture tomorrow if they are still there.

Thank you for responding. Ken

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Hi Ken

It sounds like they may be building comb in there ??? Can you tell ??. For now I would take the cover off if you can [ in a manner which does not get you stung ] and expose the inside of the dresser to the outside world. The idea being to leave them open to the world and not completely protected. Maybe they might leave. Altho if they have started making comb then they may be staying. A picture would help. If they are definitely making home there then there is another plan without killing them, which would be too bad.

Maybe a couple of pictures , one showing the layout of the patio and how the dresser is positioned and one close up to see if they are making comb. But go easy so as not to get them disturbed and do not get closer then you have to. Cover up and where a hat or some such to diminish the amount of exposed skin in case they get too cuirous about you. They probably won’t bother you at this point as they are busy doing whatever they are doing. And what is the name of the city/town you live in ?

Ask The Beekeeper

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I live in Temecula which is inland from the coast about 15 miles and just above the San Diego county line. Attached are some pictures. You can see the bees kind of hanging from the underside of the top of the dresser where the drawers used to be. This morning early it was kind of cool , 50's so they were pretty quiet when I took the pictures.

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Hi Ken:
Thanks for the photos. Makes it much easier for me to see what is going on. It has also given me a couple of ideas to get them out of there. There is no evidence that I can see that they are building comb. If they were you would see the comb hanging down. So it puzzles me why they are just sitting there in a clump. The Queen is in the middle.
Actually this is an ideal situation for a local beekeeper to come in and snatch the swarm and he has a free hive. Buying bees to start a hive is expensive. Any beekeeper would be thrilled to get these bees off your hands.
I assume you don’t know any around. There is a Beekeeping Society in San Diego. Go to this web site and right on the first page you will see some names of people who would be very interested in this swarm. Pick a number or numbers closest to where you live. I believe you will definitely find someone to solve the problem.
Please let me know what comes of this and thanks again for the photos.

Ask The Beekeeper

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Hi Al,
Thanks for your suggestion. I made a couple of calls to the local beekeepers, but have not heard back yet. The "clump" is the same, has not changed, no comb hanging down. Is there a chance they may still leave for a better spot? It's been almost two days since they arrived.
Ken

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Hi Ken:
Usually swarms do not stay long in one spot. Now and then they will stay for awhile. It is good in this case that they are not making comb as that would mean they are there to stay.
They apparently are still sending out scouts who are returning and, by doing a special kind of wiggle dance, they are telling the rest of them about the spot they have found, but it is not good enough for them to make a decision about ‘let’s go there’. So , that is good anyway.
Let them sit for another day or two. It seems to me you should hear from a beekeeper you have called unless he/she may live too far away for the drive. You could try calling your local police as well to see if they know of any beekeepers nearby. Usually they do know someone whom they will call when somebody calls all in a panic about a swarm or some other pressing bee situation.
Keep me advised. I still have one more move up my sleeve that should get them to leave on their own. It could work well considering where they are located inside that vacant top drawer space. I would like to wait a day before I run my plan by you, if you don’t mind.

Ask The Beekeeper

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Thanks again Al for your kind assistance. I will keep you informed.
Ken

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Hi Al,
Made contact with a local beekeeper and he came out and successfully removed the bees. Yes they had started a hive and he removed and saved the comb. He showed us all the new eggs and said in no time it would have turned into a large hive so it was a good to get them out now while it was still small. He was happy to save them. Thanks for all your help and suggestions.
Sincerely,
Ken

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In Order to Locate a Beekeeper:
1. Look in the Yellow Pages under BEEKEEPER or HONEY.
2. Contact your County Extension Service, which may be listed under the name of your state’s agricultural university.
3. Ask your fire or police department. They often have lists of beekeepers who will take unwanted bees.

 

Updated January 1, 2017

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