Calgary·Audio

Height of bee mating season signals swarming, warns expert

Calgary's bees are busy breeding, and as the fuzzy little insects continue to multiply, so does the likelihood of a swarm.

'Everybody wants bees, and not everybody has the same level of education,' says Thomas Schweizer

'Right now, we are in a swarm season, as we call it,' says Thomas Schweizer. The warm spring weather signals the height of honeybee mating season, and overpopulated hives will begin to split apart, as swarms of bees set out in search of new homes. (Getty Images)

They don't call it "the birds and the bees" for nothing.

Calgary's bees are busy baby-making, and as the fuzzy little insects continue to multiply, so does the likelihood of a swarm. 

"Right now, we are in a swarm season," said Thomas Schweizer, vice-president of the Calgary and District Beekeepers Association.

"If there are too many bees in a hive, the bees find a way to split," he explained. 

Swarms occur when clusters of bees break off from their overpopulated hive with a newly crowned queen in search of a new location to colonize. 

This can cause problems for homeowners, especially if bees establish a hive in the siding or eavestrough of a home.

311 to the rescue 

Anyone who witnesses a cloud of buzzing bees can call the city's 311 service line and be put in touch with an expert.

The City of Calgary recently partnered with the beekeepers association to help reduce the casualties for bees and humans alike in these sticky situations.

"In the past five years, it's become really hip to have bees. Everybody wants bees, and not everybody has the same level of education," Schweizer said.

He said novice beekeepers may not have the right equipment to deal with swarms, which is where his organization can step in. 

"Sometimes, it can happen that the bees start swarming, and then somebody needs to move them to prevent potential problems."

Calling 311 about a swarm will alert volunteers with the beekeepers association, who will then be available to transport or re-home the honeybees to a more suitable location. 


With files from The Homestretch