The following people collect honey bee swarms in the Austin area or know how to quickly find a nearby beekeeper. A phone call is the best way to get the beekeeper there quickly before the swarm departs. Please call ASAP. I’ll be updating this list as I find folks interested in catching swarms.
- Konrad Bouffard: 512-923-1024
- Jim Hogg: 512-228-0022
- Brandon Fehrenkamp: 512-569-6270
- Austin Urban Beekeeping Group Thread: You can add a post to this thread.
- Austin 311: The City of Austin will be able to provide a list of beekeepers and services that will come remove swarms and established hives. Please attempt to use a service that removes the bees instead of destroying them.
Please ask the beekeeper whether there is a charge for their time, fuel, or assistance. Depending on the situation, a beekeeper may come remove the bees free of charge, but it is always best to ask ahead of time.
Question: Is the swarm dangerous?
No. Honey bees in a swarm are unlikely to be aggressive and sting anyone unless you attack the bees. At this stage they do not have a home to defend and they have filled up with honey in preparation for the flight to their permanent home. If the honey bees stay and construct a wax nest they will become aggressive if you disturb them.
Question: Where did the honey bees in my yard come from? Why are they swarming?
There is a good possibility that a permanent nest (feral hive) of bees is located close to the swarm that has just landed. This could be in a cavity in a tree, a building, abandoned barrel, etc. This nest (colony) had a large population of honey bees and has run out of room to store honey, pollen and raise new bees. When this occurs the bees will begin to raise new queens and shortly before the new queens hatch the old queen will leave the hive with about one-half of the bees. The queen and bees will usually fly only a short distance, the queen will land on some object and the bees will cluster around her forming the swarm. If the first swarm does not reduce the crowding enough a second swarm may emerge.
Question: What will the swarm of honey bees do next if I don’t do anything?
Scout bees from the swarm will fly out to try to find a permanent home. If they find a suitable cavity they return to the swarm and perform a dance within the cluster communicating the location, size and other information about the possible new home. Bees receiving this information will fly to this location to investigate. When a sizable number of bees do the dance for a given location the entire swarm will leave and fly to the new nest site.
Question: How long does it take bees to find a new home?
It could take just a few hours, several days or it may not occur at all. If the scout bees do not find a suitable site they may begin building an exposed nest at the swarm location (in a tree, on the side of your house, etc.) This nest may become a problem to you. If you want a beekeeper to capture the swarm it is important to contact him or her as soon as possible. It is best to telephone the beekeeper.