Are you seeing honey bees? Here’s why!

by Allison Williams, Co-owner of Desert Swarm Bee Removal LLC

Although it is not quite peak season, we are seeing an increase in honey bee activity in Tucson and surrounding areas! With the recent rains and increase in temperatures, bees are naturally becoming more active. Here’s a summary of what we are seeing!

Don’t be fooled! Honey bees do not leave for the winter

It is often misunderstood that honey bees will leave their established hive during winter. This is not so! They become less active and more dormant during winter months, but they do not leave their hives. We are now seeing these over-wintered hives become active, and customers are calling for hive removals. Please be aware of any new bee activity if you had an established hive on your property last spring and thought they “left” during winter.  We can help you prevent the problem from getting worse!

Bee Removal
Swarm of Africanized honey bees

Small swarms and scouting activity

A portion of honey bees (a swarm) will leave an established hive, typically in spring, as hives become overcrowded. The swarm will send out scout bees to look for a new hive location for building comb, raising bees, and producing honey. Currently, we are seeing some very small swarms and a bit of scouting activity. If you see bees that come and go or are focused on areas around your property, please be aware that it may be a swarm scouting your place for a new hive location. We can certainly prevent them from moving in!

Pollinating bees & robber bees

As winter transitions into spring, honey bees are out looking for food to support their hive. With little blooming in the surrounding desert right now, honey bees are attracted to blooms in residential and commercial areas. If you have a blooming plant or tree on your property and bees are focused on the flowers, there is likely no need to worry as these are pollinating bees! With scarce resources, bees are also attracted to sugary sweet odors like soda cans, garbage cans, and old honey comb remnants. We are also finding bees attracted to sap from evergreen trees in the area!

If you had a hive previously treated for bees without removing or sealing the area, other honey bees may try to “rob” the hive or move into the “ready-made” space.  It is  not easy for the untrained eye to distinguish robber bees from established bees, so please call us if you need help resolving this issue!

If you are unsure, please call us! 

As your bee removal experts, we are always here to help you resolve your bee issues. If you are seeing unusual bee activity on your property and are unsure of your problem, do not ever hesitate to call! We are always here to answer your questions. We are licensed professionals and are experienced with handling Africanized honey bees. ALL of the wild honey bees in Arizona are presumed to be Africanized, which can become extremely defensive of their hive with aggression. Unfortunately, we have seen people and their pets get hurt trying to handle their own bee issues.

Keeping you and your family safe is our number one priority!

Swarm Season is Fast Approaching

by Greg Williams, Owner of Desert Swarm Bee Removal, LLC

Giant Africanized honey bee swarm in Tucson area

Have you even wondered why honey bees swarm in the spring and summer?  Bees swarm for two main reasons: space and colony reproduction.

Southern Arizona has many native species that bloom between February and May, most notably, creosote, palo verde, mesquite, and ironwood.  As these plants bloom, honey bees are busy filling their hives with fresh pollen and nectar both of which take of lots of hive space.  As the hives become overcrowded, the existing queen and approximately half the bees will leave the hive.  This is a swarm that we all have seen or heard flying overhead.  This swarm of bees are now on the lookout for a new hive location where they will start from scratch and the hive they left will form a new queen and continue to build.

Swarming is also a natural way for a bees to reproduce on the colony level: one hive turns into two hives immediately!  The bee colony is an organism unto itself and swarming (i.e. reproduction) is a natural survival technique on the colony level.

The desert southwest is unique in that all of our feral bees (not living in white beekeepers boxes) are Africanized.  This is a hybrid honey bee created as a result of a cross between African bees (brought from the African rainforests to Brazil) and our European honeybees that originally inhabited the desert southwest.  Africanized honeybees are super aggressive and have a tendency to swarm a lot which is a genetic trait of inhabiting rainforests.  A healthy Africanized bee hive can swarm 10-20 times a year.  Do the math!  One original hive turning into 20!

With swarm season (bloom season) fast approaching please keep a look out for bees!