YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The first day of spring is less than two weeks away, and beekeepers say that’s when bees start to swarm.
Swarming is the way that hives reproduce. When a beehive becomes overcrowded, roughly half of the bees will leave and start looking for a new home.
If you’ve never seen a swarm, it can be intimidating.
There can be 10,000 to 20,000 bees in a swarm. They’ll often cluster on tree branches, posts or other structures.
Although it looks scary, a local beekeeper said it’s important not to panic. The bees are typically very docile.
The worst thing you can do is to try to kill them with pesticides, according to Beekeeper Bob Chmelik.
“If you would happen to kill that queen, those bees will never leave because they will stay where that queen was,” he said.
Chmelik said to call a beekeeper to come remove the swarm. He said most beekeepers will do this for to help preserve the bee population.
In recent years, beekeepers were worried about the dwindling honeybee colonies.
“We need bees to pollinate. One-third of our food products need to be pollinated. That’s why so many bees are carried in southern California. They produce so many of our strawberries and our nuts,” Chmelik said.
Chmelik said, however, that he thinks the bee population is starting to grow again.
Last year, he had 114 swarm calls. In a normal year, he gets 40 to 50 calls.
Typically, bees start swarming in April and will continue to do so through June.