I absolutely love spring. I love the green on the trees. I love the warm weather. And I love seeing my pollinator friends out working hard to, you know, keep life as we know it going.
I try not to disturb them. In fact, our lawn mower broke down and we JUST got it back so our front yard was about knee high - full of flowery food for our buzzy friends.Now, we've never had a swarm of bees in our yard but I can see how that would be kind of scary. When I saw the below video of a bee swarm on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, it was a bit unnerving to see the bee experts out without any suits but they seem to know what they are doing.

Spring is just the best, isn't it? The trees are bursting with that vibrant green, the sun's shining down, and all our little pollinator pals are out working hard to, you know, keep life as we know it going. I'm all about giving them their space, especially since our lawn has turned into a wildflower wonderland thanks to a broken lawnmower.

Now, I've never had a bee swarm in my yard (knock on wood), but I can imagine it's probably a little stressful. Watching that video of the bee swarm at the Illinois State Fairgrounds gave me a little chill too, especially seeing those bee experts strutting around without any protective gear.

You won’t BEElieve what happened on the Illinois State Fairgrounds today.
IDOA employees noticed a swarm of bees on a small tree in our community garden and moved quickly to rehome the bees to a box nearby. First, the swarm was sprayed with sugar water to safely inhibit their movement (and give them a snack during the process). Brian and Arvin, our resident bee experts, carefully cut the sapling in anticipation of the move.

Finally, Arvin positioned the sapling above the bee box, and with a gentle shake, thousands of bees poured into the box while others swarmed the area.
If the bees stay in their new home, they’ll be an important source of pollination for the community garden and a welcome addition to the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

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If you are wondering if there were any stings during the move, the post went on to say that unfortunately one little bee lost his life.
PS – Brian was stung once during the process, but Arvin and the photographer were not. Did you know that once a bee stings, it dies within minutes? But it also releases an alarm pheromone alerting the hive to danger and making it more likely that other bees will sting.

Why Do Bees Swarm?

Nothing ever seems to happen randomly with bees. Everything is coordinated and everyone plays their part. When a honey bee colony starts bursting at the seams, they don't waste a moment. According to clemsen.edu, it's like a well-choreographed dance: the queen lays her eggs and then sends out a signal to about half of her worker bees that it's time to hit the road.
They all gather around her, forming a buzzing cloud as they scout out a new home. The queen will find a place to land while her scouts go explore the area for a new home.  Once they've got a lead on a suitable spot, they're off in a swarm, with the queen leading the charge. Meanwhile, back at the original hive, things are getting a makeover. About sixteen days later, a new queen emerges, ready to take charge. She's not messing around either—first order of business is to take out the competition, then it's all about rebuilding and expanding the colony. It's like a mini-revolution every time!

When Do Swarms Occur?

The article goes on to explain that most swarms happen between March and May when nectar is plentiful but late-season swarms can happen.

What To Do If You Have a Bee Swarm or Unwanted Hive On Your Property?

Bee swarms might be a little unnerving, but they are usually pretty harmless! Instead of reaching for the phone to call in the exterminators, why not give your local beekeepers a buzz? These folks are usually more than happy to take that buzzing hive off your hands.

You might be thinking, I just want them gone and though it's not against the law to kill bee hives, think about how crucial these little pollinators are for keeping our ecosystem functioning. Plus, who knows, they might just find your property so charming that they settle in for the long haul and help you grow beautiful blooms.

If you're cool with having them around and their honeycomb is tucked away in a cozy nook, it's best to let them do their thing. But if they're causing a buzz (pun intended), or  their honeycomb is out in the open, call your local beekeepers. Leaving them exposed to the elements can kill the hive. Or if you see a swarm after July 1st, you'll need to call the beekeepers because they won't have time to set up a home that will survive a Midwest winter.

Where Do I Find a Beekeeper?

Every county and state is different so it's best to google your county and beekeeper. You can also find beekeepers on facebook.

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