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If Bees Swarm

This article was originally published on June 17, 2009 and expired on August 30, 2009. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.

With the onset of spring, life and activity are ignited. Bees come a buzzing and homeowners feel threatened. Bee tragedies are extremely rare, but public mistrust of these plant pollinators requires an assurance that bees are not aggressive unless they feel threatened.

Bee Swarms: why do bees swarm? A bee swarm is but a temporary shelter while scouts try to spot a permanent home. Usually a hollow in the stem of a tree is sufficient, although spaces in walls of buildings sometimes become inhabited. Swarms on the ground may indicate that an old queen may have become exhausted. Left alone, swarms soon move on, but parents worried for the safety of their children call to ask for the swarm to be removed. The swarm is often docile and very rarely do the bees attack. However prolonged stay of a swarm may require removal. Call University of Illinois Extension, Kankakee County at 815/933-8337 for more information.

Carpenter Bees: Carpenter Bees are bigger then honey bees and bumble bees are often mistaken for the latter. They often fly around homes looking for mates and a place to nest. Being "Carpenter Bees" they burrow on wood to make nests, especially if the wood is bare, unpainted or weathered softwoods. Painted or pressure treated wood is much less susceptible to attack. Male bees show aggression to people around nests but they cannot sting. Females do however sting if they feel disturbed.

To manage Carpenter Bees, deter them by painting all exposed wood surfaces, stain or apply wood preservative. Keep garages and outdoor building closed when Carpenter Bees are actively looking for nesting sites.

Liquid sprays of carbaryl, chlorpyrifos or a synthetic pyrethroid can be applied to the wood to discourage the Carpenter Bee. Aerosol sprays labeled for wasp or bee control are also effective. Because of the protective nature of the female Carpenter Bee, it is best to apply insecticides at night.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact the County Office at least two weeks prior to the event. University of Illinois Extension offers practical, research-based programs that help people improve their lives and address critical community issues involving youth, families, economics, health and natural resources.

Source: James Theuri, Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms, jtheu50@illinois.edu

Pull date: August 30, 2009

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