This article was published originally on 7/2/2008
The process of a large group of honey bees leaving an established colony and splitting off to establish a new colony is called swarming. Swarming is a natural part of the development of a honey bee colony. Swarming usually occurs in late spring and early summer and a swarm is noticed when a cluster containing hundreds of honey bees is noticed hanging on a tree limb, shrub or other object. See the photo below. Honey bee swarms are not highly dangerous under most circumstances. Stinging is unlikely and if the swarm can be avoided, do so. Stay back and keep others away from the swarm, but feel free to admire and appreciate the bees from a safe distance. For more information about relocating or destroying a swarm, see the Horticulture and Home Pest News, May 25, 2005.
Honey bee swarm. Photo by Jessica Edler.
IC-499(12) -- July 2, 2008