Honeybees are very likely the most valuable insect known to man. It is the only insect that can claim the title of being the world’s most prolific pollinator and provider of a valuable human food source. In fact, the honeybee is believed to be responsible for pollination of 1/3 of all crops producing food for our survival.

Honeybees were not native to North America until the 1600’s when they were brought over from Europe. The honeybee is a small bee identified as being yellow-orange to an orange brown in color and fuzzy in appearance. As individuals they are quite docile and do their business collecting pollen. But when one interacts with the hive or threaten the bee, the bees can and will do what is necessary to protect the hive even if it means self-sacrifice by literally taking its own life by stinging a would-be intruder. A honeybee has a barbed stinger that if used holds tightly in the skin of the critter being stung thus pulling out the venom sac of the bee causing its death. Obviously, honeybees can only sting once.

Honeybees are not your enemy. Honeybees normally swarm when the colony gets too big for the area in which they live or when new queens are produced. When our friends swarm, they can be seen in the hundreds and even sometimes thousands nearly like a cloud of bees. While making their trip to a new home, many times the swarm may stop and rest on a tree limb, swing set, side of a structure or just about anywhere. Swarming bees are of little risk. However, they do react aggressively to vibrating sounds like a lawnmower, chainsaw or weed eater. In case a swarm finds its way to your home, the first step is not to panic. Until they find an area where they can develop a new hive, most likely they are just resting. Normally within a day or two they will move on. It is always a good idea to consult with a beekeeper who may be able to capture the swarm and remove them to a new area that will make hive building easier for them. The beekeeper may also determine that the bees cannot be saved if they have already gained access to your home.