Swarm season in full swing

Hive-in-a-box in Long Beach.

LA Backwards Beekeeper Roberta writes:

Our swarm season has started, and the calls are pouring in to the Bee Rescue Hotline.

I picked up two of them. The first was in Long Beach, where Christine, tracked us down for her mom. They'd had a swarm before and called the city, then were horrified to see the city crew spray chemicals to exterminate the bees. It's always easy to pick the house on the street that has the bees because it’s usually the woman with flowers all over the front yard while the neighbors have lawn. Christine’s mom had birdfeeders everywhere and lights in the trees making it look like magical garden. She was very protective of the bees though a bit scared around them (and camera shy).

The bees had found an antique box, probably about 75 years old, that was perfect for them. It was dark and big inside. I turned over the bottomless box and exposed a cute small little hive. I wrapped the box up in a sheet and whisked it off. I’ll let them build a bit in there till I figure out what to do with them.

Deborah points out the bees.

Then I went to Culver City and picked up a medium-size swarm from Deborah’s tree. Of course, she’s also a big bee supporter and got up close and personal with the bees to show me where they were. She was certain that her 6-foot ladder could reach them and tried to show me as she stretched out her arm to say, “you can almost touch them." Being about a foot shorter than her, I said No.

Luckily her neighbor had an extension ladder that was perfect and with a few shakes of the branch and a couple of maneuvers, the bees were in the box but mad about the move. The swarm looked about the size of a basketball but felt at least 5 lbs.

I’m hoping they like the box so I can find someone to give them to. There are a few other calls I didn’t have time for so I hope someone out there can help our hotline callers out.

Both families I met were so happy that “their” bees would be given a home and that no chemicals were involved. It’s so rewarding to help out someone and the both of them were going to tell their friends and neighbors so we’ll need more people who can respond to the calls.


You can learn more about becoming a bee rescue volunteer here.