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Community services

Honey Bee Swarm and Colony Removal

Honeybee swarms are easy to identify. A swarm is a large mass of bees clinging to an object – tree branch or bush, side of house, or even just on the ground.

Do not panic if you find a swarm of honeybees on or near your property, and do not reach for a pesticide or call an exterminator. Swarming bees are not aggressive; in fact, they are very gentle. They have no colony of brood, pollen or honey to protect. They are just hanging out until some of their "scouts bees" can find a suitable location for the swarm to set up a new home. Moreover, honey bees are beneficial insects even in an urban environment. They are generalists, pollinating fruit trees, vegetable gardens as well as native and non-native plants in our yards and parks.

However, because the most suitable of locations within an urban environment for a swarm to take up residence are spaces in walls and attics of structures, it is best to have a beekeeper capture the swarm, remove it from the property and give it a suitable home – in a hive box. Honey bees live in cavities, and fill the cavities up with wax comb in which they raise their young, store pollen and nectar for food. They do not live in the ground. If you have a buzzing insect going in and out of a hole in the ground or among debris, it most likely is a yellow jacket or a wasp of some kind. Here are some pictures to help distinguish between a Honey Bee, Wasp, Yellow Jacket and Bumble Bee:

Bee-Wasp-comparison (10K)

The Contact page has a list of TBBA members who have experience collecting honey bee swarms and/or removing honey bee colonies from structures, and who wish to offer these services. They are not licensed to apply pesticide and, as bee "keepers," they do not seek to intentionally kill honey bees during the swarm removal or colony extraction process. There may or not be a charge; Be sure to ask.

Education & Outreach program

The Thunder Bay Beekeepers' Association has a number of different events geared to educating the public about the benefits and rewards of beekeeping in our communities. The club provides qualified speakers for other clubs, nature centers, schools or other organizations with entertaining and informative speakers. The club has a number of knowledgeable beekeepers that can share their expertise about bees and bee-related products. The speaker's fee is negotiable — our club's mission is to spread the word about beekeeping in Northwestern Ontario. If your organization can make a contribution to our club, it would be gratefully accepted and would further our club's goals. Travel and out-of-pocket expenses are additional. For more information, please contact us.

Host a hive

Want bees for pollination? If you'd like a beekeeper to place bees on your property, we can help. We can put you in touch with Thunder Bay Beekeepers' Association members who want to take care of bees on other peoples' property. For more information, contact us.

Public relations

For public relations issues, please contact us.

Research

Thunder Bay Beekeepers' Association conducts an annual survey of its membership to monitor the health of our hives and the success of specific treatments to deal with bee diseases or pests. The findings of these surveys are made available to the national beekeeping community. For more information, contact us.