(540) 317-1170 (textable)
Swarms are a honeybee colonies' natural way of reproducing. When the colony gets too crowded in the parent (original) hive, the workers prepare for a new queen to be raised; the original queen and about half of the workers leave the colony in a cloud. They'll all settle down for a short time in a cluster nearby. They could settle on a bush, tree, BBQ grill, car, bench, or any other item close-by. While they're clustered, scout bees go out to search for a new home. Once a few options have been located, the scout bees 'present' their selection to the group; after selecting the preferred option, the group flies off to their new home. Swarming most often occurs from early-mid April (sometimes late March) through mid-late June (sometimes even later).
There is no need to worry or panic if you see a swarm. The best thing to do is contact a beekeeper to come collect it (see list below) - please DO NOT CALL an exterminator. You can also leave it alone; within 1-2 days it will likely move off on its own. Occasionally, the new home the bees choose is in the side of a dwelling, accessible through a hole in the siding of a house, or around the flashing on a chimney. If a honeybee colony takes up residence in a home, it can cause significant damage to the dwelling. Colony removal from dwellings are done by a select group of beekeepers. A lot of work is involved in this type of 'cut-out'. It's usually not done for free, and the homeowner will need to arrange for the immediate repair of the area. Oftentimes, the beekeeper is not the same person that does the repair. It's important to repair the dwelling immediately because that area now has an attractive odor that other scout bees will be drawn to. We've seen instances where a new swarm of bees has moved in to a recently cut-out area of a dwelling, because the repair was not done in a timely fashion.
Swarm Collection & Bee Removal/Cut-outs (Removing bees from structures)
Removing bees from structures can be a complicated and involved process and usually involves some carpentry. Expect this service to have a fee. If you have honeybees in your wall, you can contact these beekeepers to discuss removal options:
The following beekeepers are listed on the Beekeepers of the Northern Shenandoah swarm page:
Fern Hill Apiary - Donielle & Michael Rininger: 540-317-1170 (Central and Northern Fauquier County) (swarm collection only)
Danny Smedley: 540-222-4994 (swarms and cutouts in Warren, Clarke, Fauquier & Rappahannock counties)*
Doug Koch: 540-313-5183 (swarm collection - avail in Winchester City, Frederick Cnty, Western Clarke Cnty)*
Ed Shideler: 540-272-6265 (swarm collection - avail in Frederick Cnty)*
David Reese: 540-636-8669 (swarm collection - avail in Warren Cnty)*
The following beekeepers are listed through the Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association website for bee removals/cut-outs:
Dave Wright: 703-587-8323*
Frank Williams: 540-270-5609 (day) or 540-937-4548 (evening). Also does home repair*
Glen Poe: Gpoe@mris.com*
John Hamilton: firstname.lastname@example.org*
Mike Kestner: Chevalier Bee Removal : 703-303-6310*
The Beekeepers: 800-496-2337*
Ben Cheek: 703-201-6401 or email@example.com*
*inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by or of Fern Hill Apiary.
Swarms are not aggressive and very beneficial. Please DO NOT spray a honeybee swarm with insect killer or call an exterminator - instead, contact a beekeeper, like us!
Call or text us at 540-317-1170. Let us know where you're located, how accessible the swarm is, how long it's been there, and your contact info so we can get in touch.
Video: Why There's no Need to Panic Over a Swarm of Bees