Swarm Hot Line
If you know of a swarm of HONEYBEES please call to be connected to a Beekeeper or leave a detailed message with a CALL BACK number for a return call. The Beekeeper will ask you the questions below when they call you back to gather more information about your swarm. So please be prepared to answer those questions as best you can. It is EXTREMELY helpful if you can take a picture of the swarm and share that picture with the Beekeeper that calls you back (via email, text, or other method).
WHAT IS A SWARM?
A swarm happens when a thriving honeybee hive, reproduces and a large amount of bees leave with the queen to find a new home. (The honeybees left behind in the original hive will raise a new queen to take over laying duties. Really strong colonies can split multiple times!) Swarms can be identified as large clusters of bees buzzing loudly. Swarms can land just about anywhere; Your car, a tree, a bush, the road. These swarms are not dangerous as they have no hive to protect, but do not attempt to capture the swarm without proper equipment and knowledge. Swarms usually only hang around for a couple hours before they leave to create a new hive. Approximately 10-15% of hives survive in the wild, so calling a local beekeeper is the best chance the bees have to survive.
SWARM PICTURES FOR REFERENCE
Swarm Season on the Western Slope runs from early spring to the fall.
To report a swarm of Honeybees, please call: (970) 812-0080.
HELPFUL INFORMATION TO HAVE WHEN A BEEKEEPER CALLS YOU BACK
Is it a swarm of bees (big ball of bees) or a nest? How many bees can you see? 10-20, 100, a couple 100, or thousands? (Refer to the pictures of honey bee swarms above)
Where are they? In a tree, in your house, etc?
How high from the ground are they?
How long have they been there?
How big is the mass of bees? Is it the size of a 5 gallon bucket, basketball, 1 gallon jug, football, softball?
How accessible are they? If they are in your wall, is there a space inside to get at them? Do they have to be cut out? Would you consider such an option?
Is there electric available near the bees (important to know if the bees are INSIDE your wall or a small crack)?
Have you called anyone else? It's frustrating to make a trip only to find that someone else was called and arrived first. If you call us, we'll always come and get it. Please whatever you do, do not call an exterminator. They will kill the bees and that doesn't do anyone any good.
The individual beekeeper coming to get your swarm of honey bees may have more questions as he/she is trying to understand what to bring and be most efficient.
IDENTIFYING HONEYBEES FROM OTHER TYPES OF BEES
Most of the swarm calls we receive actually turn out NOT to be for honey bees. So please use the pictures below to help you identify the type of insect you are seeing. If it is a honey bee swarm please call us right away. We do not deal with other types of bees, wasps, or hornets.
(this info-graphic was taken from www.mizztizzysweedsandseeds.com)
Colorado considers honeybees to be livestock!
Western Colorado Beekeepers Association with guidance from CSU is currently reaching out to fellow beekeepers on the Western Slope who share our concerns for the bees and have the abilities to safely remove swarms as they are reported throughout the Western Slope. We have a list of Swarm wranglers waiting to round up the stray stragglers and return them safely back to the herd.
For the Four Corners area; Bayfield, Cortez, Durango and surrounding areas. The 4 Corners Beekeepers Association has beekeepers ready to assist in swarm management and their Swarm line number is: (970) 884-8190.
The Colorado State Beekeepers Association Swarm line number is: (844) SPY-BEES (844-779-2337)
Honey bees on left, common black and yellow paper wasp on right
(photo by Club Member Kim Artlip)