Many people are terrified of bees. This fear is almost always based on a lack of knowledge and is rarely due to personal experience.

SWARMING, which usually happens in spring, is one of the most misunderstood aspects of honeybee life that stirs negative human emotions and often leads to an irrational “I’ll kill them before they kill me” scenario.

A tragedy like this was probably at the root of the petition filed recently to make killing honeybee swarms and colonies illegal in New York State in most circumstances, like a similar law in New Jersey.

Deb Klughers of East Hampton, New York, filed the petition. She is a certified master beekeeper who runs Bonac Bees. When she responded to a recent report that a bee swarm was in a tree in a residential neighborhood, she arrived to find around 30,000 bees dying on the ground. While they might have died of natural causes, it is likely that they were sprayed to death.

At BEE MISSION we are passionate about raising consciousness and educating people about bees, so these incidents eventually stop happening.

Swarming is how honeybee colonies expand and reproduce. They create new colonies, often many miles from their original hive.

The Queen Bee leaves her hive with over half her worker bees, looking for a place to make a new home colony. They rest on a nearby tree limb or some such fixture for a few days while two dozen or so scout bees seek a new location.

The decision on where to set up the new colony is based on the degree of excitement shown by the returning dancing scout bees.  

Seeing thousands of bees fly together and land on your property can be intimidating, but don’t panic. Swarming bees usually have no interest in attacking humans unless provoked. If you are really bothered having them close to home, please reach out to local professionals, many of whom will safely remove the swarm free of charge. Do not harm the bees.

This is the awe-inspiring power of nature at work. See the swarm as a rare blessing. You might use this as a teaching moment for your kids and neighbors, so everybody learns. Remind them that honeybees pollinate 2/3 of the food we eat and also make us delicious honey.  

We all should develop a healthy respect for any kind of bees. We need bees more than they need us, and they have enough problems these days without being wiped out by people for no apparent reason.

Swarming is different to absconding, when bees abandon their colony entirely. We'll talk about absconding in another blog post.

It’s not just swarming bees that are in danger at the hands of humans. Remember the devastating murderous attack on bees just weeks ago in Brazoria County, Texas, where hundreds of thousands of bees were burnt and drowned to death in an act of random, vicious and malicious destruction.

At BEE MISSION we’d like to see more legal protection for our beloved pollinators nationwide and worldwide. Check out the petition Ms. Klughers filed, and if it feels right to you, please give it your support. Let's help her get to 5,000 signatures!