FAQ’s About Rescuing Beehives

Q. Why are there a large group of bees swarming around?

A. When you see a large group swarming around, they are looking for a place to live. Sometimes they try to find a home in inconvenient places and they get frustrated and tired. Some people think the bees are out to sting them, but they are really just trying to make a hive. You don’t know how long they’ve been out there looking, and you don’t know what they’ve been through. Chasing you down to sting you is not what they want to do. Without a home, they are in a dire situation and really want to find a good home.

Q. People ask, why don’t they just fly? Why are they running or crawling?

A. Because it is tiring. Bees can get really exhausted.

Q. How does a beekeeper move the bees into a box to relocate them?

A. When moving bees, a beekeeper may set up a wooden box with spaces between the boards for the bees to be able to crawl into and feel safe. A beekeeper can scoop up a handful and place them near the box so that they can go in easily. 

Q. How do you get the bees into the box?

A. Once some of the bees go into the entrance of the box and find its a safe place to next, the others start rushing into the box.  They are very enthusiastic to find a new home. The bees will happily fan their little wings to tell each other, “Come this way, come on over here!”

Q. Is there a “best” way to put them into the box?

A. Usually a beekeeper will try to get the biggest handful possible to keep them together. The bees want to be together; they feel protected, safe, and warm when they are all together. Then the keeper will try to get the big handful into the box right away.

Q. Where does the beekeeper take them once they are in the box?

A. After they are all in the box, a beekeeper often takes them home and sets them up in their backyard. Usually on a temporary basis. Maybe a couple of weeks. To make sure they have their queen and that they recover okay from the rescue and that they are doing well. 

Q. How do you know if you have the queen bee?

A. After a few weeks, you can look for eggs in the honeycomb. That is a sign that the queen is there.

Q. How do beekeepers keep track of their beehives?

A. Many beekeepers name their queen bee. Or they might name the colony after the location they rescued the beehive from.