Got a Swarm?

Each spring, honeybee colonies that have survived the previous winter will create one or more swarms. Swarms are nature’s way to create new colonies of bees.

In Pennsylvania, swarms are common from mid-May through mid-June, but can happen at other times throughout the year depending on weather and other conditions.

When a swarm first emerges, thousands of bees can be seen and heard flying slowly to a bivouac site — usually a tree or another tall structure near the original hive — where they wait while the more experienced members of the swarm search for a new hive location.

Honeybee Swarm in the Air from The Beeyard on Vimeo.

Swarm of honeybees which has settled in a tree

While the swarms usually land in a tree, they can land pretty much anywhere. We’ve retrieved swarms from every place imaginable — even things like cars and fire hydrants!

A swarm on a fire hydrant!

While the swarm is in its bivouac site, it can be safely retrieved by an experienced beekeeper.

If you have a swarm on your property, don’t panic!

Swarms are not dangerous and will not sting unless provoked.

Do not spray swarms with any chemicals, keep children and pets safely away from the swarm, and let us know right away.

Send us an email at info@thebeeyard.org and let us know your name, telephone number, the address/location of the swarm, and a description of where the swarm has landed — in a tree, on a building, etc. Include your best guess of how high they are off of the ground. Attaching a photo of the swarm is also helpful but not necessary.

A colony of honeybees inside of the walls of a house or hollow tree is not a swarm and cannot be easily retrieved.

Our club maintains a network of experienced beekeepers all throughout central Pennsylvania who can remove the swarm from your property without harming the bees. The bees will then be given a safe, cozy new home by one of our beekeepers.

Please remember that we are a collection of volunteers, and it is not possible for us to retrieve every swarm. Occasionally, swarms are too high, too close to electrical wires, or have landed in another unsafe location.