Photo Credit: The Beekeeper Cape Town

Capetonian beekeeper Melissa Harris shares what to do if a bee swarm arrives at your home; her helpful post will save many newly formed hives.


Cape Town, South Africa (27 September 2022)The Beekeeper Cape Town wants everyone to understand what happens when bees swarm and what to do if one ends up in your home, garden or other inconvenient places.

Spring is swarm season for bees. It is the time of year when hives split and seek out new homes. Bees are essential to life on Earth so protecting them is vital. Melissa Harris is a Cape Town-based beekeeper who hopes to raise awareness about what to do if a swarm of bees settles in or near your home.

Melissa is based in Sunningdale, Cape Town; she has been a beekeeper for the last five years. Her beekeeping practices are linked to sustainable and ethical methods. In all cases, her goal is to remove bees from a site and relocate them somewhere safe.

Sadly, there are many unethical beekeepers who are not registered and will undercut the pricing of ethical beekeepers in order to get the limited jobs. Melissa hopes this message will aid people in making the right decisions about bee swarms the encounter. Take a look at her informative tips below.

“Spring has sprung and swarming season is eminent.

Here’s what to do when you see a swarm of bees.

Keep your distance and do not wet or interfere with the swarm at all.

Inside that ball of bees is a Queen who has just been given her marching orders.

She has laid her successor/s and the new queens may have hatched or are about to hatch.

The old Queen leaves the existing colony with about a third of the workforce and this is the way they ensure the survival of their species and repopulate.

When bees swarm, they are at their most vulnerable and will be completely defenseless as they have no brood, no honey, no stores to defend.

They will also have full stomachs having gorged on honey and or bee bread prior to swarming.

Once they have settled in the ball, the Queen releases a pheromone instructing the scout bees to go and look for a new home.

They go and scout around and report back to the swarm and waggle dance the locations they have sourced.

If they feel there are viable options, more scouts go and look until a quorum is reached and a suitable home is decided upon.

Once this has happened they will move off and leave as quickly as they arrived.

Sometimes it’s only a few hours but can be up to a day.

Bees rarely build open air hives as it may leave them too exposed. They much prefer cavities in the ground, tree cavities, and the likes.

When you see a swarm in trek, contact a local beekeeper who can further advise you or even come and fetch them.

Do your due diligence on us. Ask questions. I welcome this when contacted about bees.

Send a photo and as much information about where the bees are.

Most of us charge a call out fee which varies according to the accessibility of the bees and covers our time and travel, experience and equipment.

If you are unable to cover the fee, talk to us, offer something.

Please do not threaten to kill the bees or ‘take matters into my own hands’.

We have heard it all and your plan may kill 100 bees and anger 10 000 and someone may get very seriously hurt in the process.

Please don’t make us feel guilty for asking a fee, it’s a specialised service we are offering. We love the bees and what we do and this is our livelihood. It pays for trumpet lessons, school fees and most importantly keeps us on the bees.

So as we approach warmer days, bee aware of swarms in trek!”

If you are curious about where to find the best beekeepers, you can reach out to the Western Cape Bee Industry Association for help finding someone to assist you.

Sources: The Beekeeper Cape Town
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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