Don't fear the swarm

Dawn Tucker wants people to know if they spot a mass of bees, don't panic and give her a call.

Tucker is a local beekeeper who will collect the swarm and relocate them.

With spring well underway, bees are becoming more active and noticeable, but Tucker said if you see a swarm, they are likely just resting before moving on to their new home.

“If you see a swarm of bees in your yard message me on Facebook or call me I’ll happily come and collect them, 250-549-9615,” said Tucker, who posted her offer to help on the Vernon and Area Community Forum page. “Don’t touch them, just take a photo and provide me with the location and I’ll give them a safe and happy home.”

Tucker said a large swarm often means the bees are simply resting while scouts search for a permanent home.

They will likely be there only for a few hours or a day or two.

By calling Tucker, or a member of the North Okanagan Beekeepers, the bees can be safely relocated to a new home.

“They are just honey bees, they are not wasps. They are not going to come after you. They are literally in the calmest state they can be. They really are just resting and waiting,” said Tucker.

“A beekeeper is going to collect them and take them to a place where they can stay and have a nice home.”

Tucker said bees are not something to be afraid of when they are in a large mass, they are simply protecting the queen which is in the centre.

She suggests people take a picture of the swarm and send to a beekeeper to ensure it is in fact bees and not another black-and-yellow insect like a wasp.

“If they are building anything that looks like paper it is not honey bee. If they are in the ground they are often wasps or they could be bumble bees. If it is bumblebees I tell people just to leave them. Bumblebees are generally harmless,” she said.

Bee numbers across North America have been under stress in recent years with mass die offs.

Experts say one-third of all food comes from the work of honey bees.

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