Swarm Removal

Need a bee swarm or hive removed?

 Call 604-777-5430 or 604-328-5028

We provide swarm and hive removal and collection services in Metro Vancouver. We do not kill bees or destroy their nests. Rather, we remove and rehouse them in new hives. We try not to collect swarms after late summer as their survival rate is low and it may be best to leave them where they are until spring. However, in circumstances where they are impeding pathways or disturbing people we will remove them.

We also can remove wasp nests from trees and on buildings for a fee. Please call for rates.

If you think you have a honey bee swarm or a wasp nest, it is crucial to distinguish the difference.  Honey bees are vegetarian, eating pollen and nectar from flowers and trees. Wasps are omnivores that eat meat and are best identified as those flying insects that bug your picnic table.

What is a swarm?

Swarming is a natural phenomenon of honey bees that usually takes place any time between April and September. Prime swarm time is May and June in Metro Vancouver.

Bee swarm in tree. John Clift photo

Contrary to popular myth,  swarms are not inherently dangerous. Rather, they are the natural function that takes place when a colony of bees splits into two, usually as a result of overcrowding. The swarm takes the old queen and a number of workers to seek out a new home. The worker bees fill up with honey from the hive’s stores. This fact makes them fairly docile and they are at their least likelihood of stinging.

Often a hive will issue a second or third swarm after the main split.

Initially most swarms find temporary homes in trees, on fences or under eaves. Left alone, they will migrate to a new permanent home found by their scouts. This can be an abandoned hive, a wall cavity, eaves or in holes in trees. Swarms usually seek out places with a volume of about 40 litres, or the size of a honey bee box.

But sometimes swarms find the oddest spots to land. Beekeepers in B.C. have been called out to wrest them from cars, shipping containers, and in one case in 2011, from the wing tip of a small private jet at Vancouver International Airport.

The crucial time to stop and remove a new swarm is in those first few hours. But sometimes by the time the beekeeper gets there the swarm will have moved to a more secure location, making the effort to remove them more time-consuming and difficult.

 

The feared wasp or yellow jacket. Your basic flying tank. These don’t swarm but are pests to most people.

 

Honey Bee. Photo Jeff Lee

The cute and fuzzy honey bee. Not cute enough to cuddle. It ignores your picnic.

It is important to know the difference between domesticated honey bees and yellow jackets and wasps. Bees in a swarm are a mass of insects clustered around the queen. Wasps, on the other hand, form a papery shell around their nest.

We’re happy to remove swarms and hives. In many cases we may not even charge for the service if it is early in the season and the bees are easily removed. But if the removal requires specialized equipment, has an exceptional degree of difficulty or is late summer or early fall, we may charge a fee.

 Call 604-777-5430 or 604-328-5028

 

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