Do you have a swarm of bees on your property?
The Great Basin Beekeepers of Nevada (GBBN) club has several members (see list below) who are experienced beekeepers and willing to provide swarm collection services to the public. If you call a pest extermination service, there is possibility that they will kill the bees. Club members can humanely remove and resettle the colony and keep them alive and healthy, which is great for the bees and good for our environment.
Bee Removal – Capturing Swarms vs. Cut-out Extracting
How do you know it’s a Swarm?
In springtime, bee colonies swarm as this is the natural way bees reproduce. The Queen and 20,000 to 30,000 bees will fly out of the hive to find a new home. It is common for swarms to settle and cluster on a tree branch, a fence, a post or just about anywhere. They stay at that location for a short period of time before they find a permanent home to build a new colony. A swarm is a cluster of bees hanging in a ball from a tree or fence. This ball of bees is called a bivouac. The bivouac is where the bees will unite until the scout bees can locate another place to live. This is a short-term cluster of bees that has not established a colony by drawing out comb, storing honey or laying any eggs and requires the least complicated process for bee removal. In general, a swarm of bees is calm and not aggressive.
Swarming typically happens in the spring. Bees can swarm at other times, but it is risky for them to do so because they must have the resources and the time to draw wax comb, build a sustainable population and store plenty of food before winter. If it’s outside of that time period, then it’s probably not a swarm. Old beekeeping proverb:
· A swarm in May is worth a load of hay.
· A swarm in June is worth a silver spoon.
· A swarm in July isn’t worth a fly.
How do you know it is NOT a Swarm but an established colony?
On the other hand, if the bees are in a cavity, an enclosed space or hanging from a tree with comb, then this is a Feral Colony and not a swarm. The removal of a feral colony is a completely different removal process. For the most part these bees have been present for longer periods of time (days or even years) and have established a colony that will require a more complicated removal called a “cut-out”. This extraction requires cutting out comb and removing it along with the bees, brood (baby bees) and honey. The bees will be naturally defensive and protective of their established home. Professional bee keepers who remove feral and established colonies require advanced techniques and may charge a fee for their service. If you call an exterminator, they have set fees as they are providing a professional business service to you. Professional beekeepers usually are more flexible in the rates they charge, and some may provide the service for free.
What happens to the Bees?
All the bees are humanely resettled into a new hive and given to a member of the club. If you have a bee swarm or established colony on your property, and you would like it humanely removed, please contact one of our beekeepers to arrange collection and removal of the swarm.
How is it done?
As a Club, we are not providing a removal service. We are only introducing two third parties together to arrange between themselves the removal of the bees. We are a Nevada non-profit organization that accepts donations from members of the public wishing to support our mission.
Individually, GBBN beekeepers typically do not ask for a fee to remove a swarm. However, that is for each beekeeper to determine as each situation can be different, e.g. simple collection of a swarm vs a cut out. That said, bear in mind that when a Beekeeper (Professional or Hobbyist) collects a swarm of bees or a feral colony, they are required to provide suitable "accommodation" for the bees for the rest of the colony's life. A basic hive setup for these bees can start from around $80-100 and this is a cost that the person removing the bees is up for. On top of this they have their traveling time and the working time moving the bees into the new hives or NUC box for transportation. These costs do increase as the colony gets larger and there is a lot of time and effort required to look after their needs especially for the first few weeks after removal. Even if the beekeeper doesn’t ask a fee for the removal, you might want to consider a donation to the club or to the individual beekeeper.
Please note: We are NOT a pest extermination or wasp removal service (e.g. wasps, yellow jackets, etc. do not swarm or build honeycomb). If you are unsure of whether you have a swarm, an established bee colony or a wasp’s nest, please call one of the GBBN members listed below. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Please take a picture and be ready to text or send it to the beekeeper.
(Disclaimer: Any issues or legal aspects that may arise from the removal of bees are between the two parties. The Great Basin Beekeepers of Nevada carries no responsibility or liability for the actions of the beekeeper. This is only a service in which we connect beekeepers with members of the public who would like to have a bee swarms or colonies removed.)
Heather Mandel 775-230-3214 Carson City
Del & Myrna Barber 541-249-0160 Carson City
Jackie Jennings 775-882-7298 Carson City
Gillian & Frank Mellor 775-883-2915 Carson City
Bronson Miranda 925-984-3576 Carson City
Jacki Sandage 775-720-8912 Carson City
Dave & Bobbie Lippincott 775-232-9631 Carson City
Cara Strasser 775-315-7348 Carson City
James Jackson 775-461-0384 Carson City
Gillian & Frank Ferranto 775-901-3614 Gardnerville
Heather Angeloff 775-432-8198 Reno
Crystal Metzenheim 775-852-1326 Reno
Faye Voisard 775-336-8386 Reno
Lisa Fisher 775-232-3840 Fernley/Reno
Susan Korngold 530-694-1155 Markleeville, CA
Linda Groves 775-742-4809 Mound House
Del & Myrna Barber 541-249-0160 Dayton
Robert Hickox 775-671-1672 Washoe Valley
Larry Lockhart 775-673-8057 Smith Valley