Swarms and What the Public Needs to Know

A swarm of honeybees is a wonderful sight to behold. It is the natural reproduction of a whole colony. Swarms are not dangerous or aggressive if simply left alone. They have no interest in you.

Swarm “high season” in Baltimore County is April & May. Swarms can happen at other times, but more rarely.

Honeybees when swarming are relatively docile and have no interest in you. They have no hive or young to protect and are well fed before they leave the hive. So the first advice: Relax a bit. Move in a relaxed way, or sit and watch. They may be flying around, but they are not after you.

A swarm will first land fairly close to the colony from which it left, often only 25-100 yds. If that colony is managed by a local beekeeper, s/he would probably  like to collect the swarm. Ask around. Get to know your neighbors. If there is a beekeeper in your neighborhood, you may eventually have a swarm visit.

What to know before you call:

* The address and contact phone number for the swarm location.
* Your contact information if different.

* A clear description of where the swarm is.
* How high, in what specific location, if there are barriers to entry (fences, locks, dogs, etc), and how long the swarm has been there, if you know.

Who to call if you have a swarm:

The following is a list of CMBA beekeepers who collect swarms.  For best results, you may wish to speak with someone in your zip code or an adjacent zip code.

CMBA VOLUNTEER SWARM CATCHERS

Click on the Google map below to see the locations of swarm catchers.  Click on a map pin to see the name and contact info for that swarm catcher.  You can click the “maximize” icon at the top right of the map to open it full-size in a new tab.

If you can’t reach anyone from the list above, call 911. They maintain a list of beekeepers who may be interested in coming to collect the swarm. Let the 911 operator know you’d like to talk to the supervisor about the list of beekeepers available. It will be up to you to call the beekeeper. There is no legal requirement s/he comes to remove the swarm.

You can also call the MD State Apiarist (Cybil Preston). The office phone is 410-841-5920.