CRANFORD, NJ – When Mickey the Beekeeper heard about a swarm of 5,000 honey bees in a Cranford tree, he was so confident in their mild nature that he didn’t even wear gloves.

Honey bees are more beneficial than people realize, Mickey said. He’s a third-generation beekeeper who wants the world to understand that bees are not aggressive.

“People think that bees are aggressive, but they’re more defensive,” He said. “If you don’t bother them, they don’t bother you.”

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When Mickey received the call about the swarm in Cranford, he wore only a hat and veil to remove the small swarm from a branch about 25 feet up. He then transferred them to a hive he had created in Mountainside.

“I always put in hives in anticipation of swarm season [late spring to early summer],” Mickey said. “When I catch a swarm, I have to put them in place right away and I’ll check back on them in about a week to see if there is a viable queen.”

Mickey saves bees for free, and often receives calls from pest control companies who recognize that people need bees to survive. Honey bees pollinate almost all of our fruits and vegetables, he said.

“We save them for pollination purposes,” Mickey said. “And they make honey, which a lot of people need. It helps alleviate a lot of allergies. They really help us out a lot more than people figure. We should always try to save them when we can by calling a beekeeper.”

According to Greenpeace, there is a worldwide bee collapse. Honey bees have declined from about 6 millions hives in 1974 to 2.4 million hives in 2008, the Greenpeace website reads.  

“Save the bees,” Mickey the beekeeper said. “We’re more than happy to remove them for free and we don’t spray them.”