Honey Bee Swarms


The process of a large group of honey bees leaving an established colony and splitting off to establish a new colony is called swarming. Swarming is a natural part of the development of a honey bee colony. Swarming usually occurs in late spring and early summer and a swarm is noticed when a cluster containing hundreds of honey bees is noticed hanging on a tree limb, shrub or other object. See the photo below. Honey bee swarms are not highly dangerous under most circumstances. Stinging is unlikely and if the swarm can be avoided, do so. Stay back and keep others away from the swarm, but feel free to admire and appreciate the bees from a safe distance. For more information about relocating or destroying a swarm, see the Horticulture and Home Pest News, May 25, 2005.


Honey bee swarm.  Photo by Jessica Edler.


Honey bee swarm. Photo by Jessica Edler.


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on July 2, 2008. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.