WESTFIELD, NJ — A week after Westfield resident Wally Parker reported seeing thousands of hiveless honey bees in his yard on Kimball Avenue, a neighbor on nearby North Eucild Avenue posted a photo on Facebook of a similar cluster of bees in one of her trees Tuesday.
According to Parker, his bees are still making their home in is tulip tree and buzzing around his home, which makes this swarm number two for the neighborhood.
The bees on North Euclid could be secondary swarm, according to Mickey the Beekeeper, a local third-generation beekeeper. He explained that after one swarm of bees left its hive in search of a new home, the bees left behind may have done the same. They would now be two distinct swarms, each with its own queen and each looking for a new home.
Behavior like this isn’t unusual for bees, especially in the spring, Mickey said. It’s the time of year when queen bees lay thousands of eggs a day.
“They’re getting crowded — that’s why swarm season happens,” he explained.
According to Mickey, bees outgrowing their hives venture out to look for a new one on days when the weather is warm and dry and the nectar is flowing, so they have plenty of food while they search. On cooler or wetter days, they may cluster together in a safe spot.
Don’t be alarmed if you see a swarm of bees clustered together or buzzing around, Mickey said.
“They’re not very aggressive in swarm mode,” he said. “They have no home to defend yet.”
If you do see swarm, he recommended calling a beekeeper as soon as possible so that he or she can try to save them. Mickey offers to place honey bees into hives for free if you call him at 917-740-8009.
“I’m really hoping to get another swarm call in Westfield,” he said. “I lost my Westfield hive over the winter and I’m hoping to restock it with some local Westfield bees. That would be fun.”
Keeping the bees in a local hive will help all of the gardens around it as the bees pollinate their flowers, he said.
If that’s not enough incentive, he added, “I always give a jar of local Westfield honey, as well, when I get a swarm.”