When Bees Swarm

A colony of honeybees swarm on a car at Golden Dragon Cafe on Monday afternoon. A bee hive box was brought the location and baited to encourage the bees to move for removal.

by Ammie Bryant, Editor

UPDATE: This colony was safely trapped and removed and has a new home with Pioneer Apiary.


On Monday afternoon, visitors to Golden Dragon Cafe were greeted by a swarm of bees in the parking lot. A colony of bees had found refuge on a Golden Dragon Cafe delivery car. After the discovery of the swarming bees, a bee box was brought to the location and baited to encourage the bees to move into it so they could be safely removed.

You should never kill or bother the bees if you happen upon a swarm of them. Call an expert, and in this case that means a beekeeper. As pollinators, honeybees are vital to the agricultural industry and by extension our food supply.  According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, 3/4 of the world’s flowering plants and about 35% of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. Some scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

In recent decades, honeybees and other pollinators like bats, have begun to disappear. Entire colonies are dying due to insecticide use, various diseases, parasites, and destruction of their habitats.

Honeybees begin swarming in the spring as the days begin to warm up. When the colony gets big enough the bees will divide and the queen bee will leave the hive taking a portion of the colony with her to find a new home. At the old hive, a new queen will take her place and continue on with a portion of the colony.  While they are searching for a new home, the colony of honeybees will stop off to rest on trees, walls, road signs, and even cars like the one on Monday afternoon in Stillwater. The bees may seem scary, but they are actually quite docile when they are swarming. They do not have a nest or stores of honey to defend so they are not on the defense during this time. If left alone, they should travel on to the next stop in their search for a new home.

If you are not in a position to wait for the bees to move on in their own time, call a local beekeeper to remove the bees safely.  Do not call an exterminator or try to spray them yourself.

In addition to saving the colony of bees, by calling a local beekeeper, you are helping to strengthen the genetic pool of that beekeeper’s colony.

OSU Payne County Extension office has a list of local beekeepers who will be happy to come out and collect the swarm. Call the office at 405-747-8320 for more information.  If you see a swarm in the city limits you can also call Stillwater Animal Welfare or the Police Department if Animal Welfare is closed. Both have a beekeeper list as well.