I've received three calls in the last two weeks to come and get "swarms". I don't usually bother in the fall, unless people touch my 'sympathy nerve'. Here's why...most of the calls are not honey bees (see post before this one), they are usually yellow jackets, and most swarms are about the size of your fist in the fall. Not big enough to make it through the winter and not worth my time.
One call on Saturday was from a guy who is doing construction work and "cannot continue until the bees are gone". And it was only three miles from our home, so I went. On the phone he said the swarm darkened the sky, it was like a huge cloud. I said that is unusual for this time of year. This is what I saw when I got there.
Here's the thing about swarms. They don't usually bother you if you don't bother them. The swarm will stay where it lands anywhere from three hours to three days. Then it moves on. It could go into the house it landed on, into your house, a barn, a dead tree, you get the idea. But once they get in the house, they are hard to get out without tearing the house apart. These bees are flying in this hole, but after removing the osb wall, we saw no sign of a hive. You know why? Because they are much smaller than a human, and newsflash, they can fly. That hive can be anywhere in the attic or walls at this point. They might fly in this hole, but who knows how far back they go. They've been building a hive since June in this house! There could be 60-80 pounds of honey in that house!
He asked if he could kill them. Sure...go ahead....if you can find them. Then, next year, plan on killing wax moth. Click on wax moth for pics. Because once you have an unprotected hive, wax moth will move in. Ask a beekeeper. Ask my friend Marcia. Ask you, since you've read this! Your local exterminator knows this, but he probably won't share that information. But when he leaves he'll hand you his business card with a smile, "in case you have any more problems". He knows you will....you now have an empty hive in your house. I don't know the people that owned this house, but you can tell by the way they take care of their house, they are very lax about things. They should have made the phone call in June. I left.
The second call, which came within ten minutes of the first call, was from a man who owns a local excavating business. He keeps my name and number on hand, because every now and then he tears down a house that has a hive in it. He doesn't usually know the house has a hive in it, until it's on the ground, which is unfortunate. You can see a post here from another time he called me to get some honey bees.
I wasted my entire day. Those "swarms" which weren't swarms at all, were in different counties, and on opposite sides of town. Not worth the trip. When you call a beekeeper to get a swarm, educate yourself, make sure it is a swarm. And guess who else learned a lesson or two here? Me.
Go here and here for real swarm stories or to see what a swarm looks like.