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A recent bee swarm in Jacksonville, Florida

Bees swarming in a Sago Palm

Richard Martyniak, M.Sc. Entomologist 1

We're getting many calls for honey bee swarms in North East Florida now, as I hope we've seen the last of the very cold weather. Rainfall has been regular and the mostly moderate temperatures have sustained a good bloom which is boosting honey bee colonies, both managed and Feral alike.

Jacksonville bee swarm on a sago palmThe picture to the left ( click to enlarge ), is of a swarm that has landed on the leaf of a sago palm. Reproductive swarms (As contrasted to migratory swarms) are a bee colony's method of reproduction. About 1/2 the colony's workers and drones will gorge themselves on the honey stores and leave, en masse, with the colony's queen. Often, because the queen is a relatively weak flyer, she falls on any handy object..... a leaf in this case. The remaining workers 'swarm' around her, protecting her and regulating temperature. Swarms can be frightening, but usually are docile. Many pest control operators do not have the expertise to properly manage swarms, and in this case a pest control operator suggested that he spray the bees, which I do NOT recommend as it often aggravates the thousands of bees and makes them much more dangerous. We are experienced bee handlers and employ methods to keep the bee's alarm response in the "off position".

Orlando bee swarm close Another angle of the swarm. When a swarm leaves a colony, we call it "issuing" from a colony.
Bee swarm in orlando with soffit removed

Notice that you cannot see any comb material. This USUALLY means that comb building has not occurred, and the colony MAY be more gentle. Don't go sticking your arm in the swarm though as the colony may have started to build comb material and could be very defensive, leaving you with nasty stings and aggravating the bees..


Bee swarm in orlando with soffit removed

Here's a closeup of the swarm. It's really interesting to sit and watch the swarm dynamics. Thousands of bees hanging by their tarsal claws (feet). They require no additional energy to hang in clumps like this. Pretty cool , huh?

Remember, you can always call us for swarm removal at toll free: 1-855-930-BEES (2337), or email us here

Another story on Honey bee swarms

Yet another story on Honey bee swarms






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