My story: Please leave harmless honeybee swarms alone

Bill Boeheim and honeybee swarm/Photo courtesy of Boeheim

Bees have been found in amber that is over 100 million years old. They have played one of the most important parts in the development of our world. If we lose our bee population, we will lose well over 75% of everything in our grocery store. Without them, our world as we know it will no longer exist.

Springtime is the most important time of the year for honeybees. The queens are going into their highest production period within the hives. Now is when their population explodes. As the hives grow, the hives divide and create swarms. Swarms? Sounds kind of scary, doesn’t it?

A honeybee swarm is one of the most docile things out there. They have no eggs, larvae or home to defend. They are just in transition from their old hive to the next home. They are not aggressive; they will not attack you!

I am writing this and pointing this out to you all because I collect and save honeybee swarms every spring. Local exterminators have my phone number available and hand it out when they get calls about bees.

When they get calls on bees, I go to investigate the infestation. Last year, I was called down to Hendersonville to a summer camp where there was a swarm in a bush. By the time I got there, the maintenance man had used a can of Raid on the swarm. The bees were still crawling around, soaked in the chemical, choking. The maintenance man just shrugged his shoulders and said, “I didn’t know.”

Please, please, please! If you ever see a swarm that looks like a big ball of bees in a bush, on a fence post, on the bumper of your car or almost anyplace, please just leave them alone. They are just there briefly. Odds are, within one or two hours, they will all turn into a cloud and fly away. If you’re extremely concerned, get ahold of a local beekeeper.

There are plenty of us out there, and we will be more than glad to come take the swarm away. We will then put it in the hive and protect it. I personally give out a quart of honey to anyone who alerts me to a honeybee swarm, just to sweeten the deal.

Honeybees today have so many things working against them. Top of the list are farmers spraying their fields, killing all insects, good or bad. Right behind them are the varroa mites that are devastating hives throughout the world.

Please, when you see them, don’t destroy them; help them get a safe home. Call a beekeeper.

— Bill Boeheim

Bill Boeheim believes in “saving the world, one beehive at a time.” He can be reached at 


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