Beekeeper: Leave bee swarms alone - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Beekeeper: Leave bee swarms alone

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As the weather continues to get nicer, bees all throughout the state will be getting to work.

It's also almost the time of year that you may see swarms of bees in unusual spaces.

But beekeepers are warning people to leave those alone, or call professionals to capture them.

That's because the bee population in the United States has been on the decline for decades, and the first bumblebee in the United States was put on the endangered list earlier this year.

Bill Johnson, co-owner of Johnson Honey Farm, says swarms are largely misunderstood.

"It's overcrowded, the old queen leaves about two days before the new queen emerges from her cell. At that point, the old hive moves out, they find a hollow tree or something to move into, and leaves the new queen with the hive," he said.

Although they may look scary, Johnson says there's nothing to fear from these swarms.

"They have not established a colony, there's no larvae in there, there's no eggs in there, there's no home to defend. So normally, I can just go out in shorts or jeans and a t-shirt and capture a swarm," he said.

Leaving these swarms to the professionals not only helps the bees, but could affect what ends up at the dinner table as well.

"Our apple trees would be mostly barren, we wouldn't have oranges, we wouldn't have peaches, we wouldn't have almonds. What the honeybees do produce is a wide variety of food for us," Johnson said.

If you come across a swarm, Johnson says you should call a beekeeper or your county extension office.

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