Call Licensed Beekeeper if You Locate Bee Swarms


Help with Honey Bee Swarms Contacts, Jayson O'Neill.Montana Department of Agriculture Public Information Specialist/Special Projects (406) 444-3684 Twitter Facebook (Photo credit MT Dept. of Agriculture)

Bee Swarms are a natural process and good for bee health. MT ranked #2 in honey production.

As summer approaches, bees may look for a new home by swarming. Honey bee swarms are a natural process, and when one is found, a licensed beekeeper is the best bet to have it removed safely.

"Swarms can be intimidating but it is rare for swarming bees to sting. Swarming is how bees make new bees," Lay explained. "About half the colony leaves with the old queen and as much honey as they can eat. They'll hang up somewhere and send out scouts to find a new location, someplace dry and defensible where they can store honey and raise more bees."

Montana is consistently in the top 5 states for the number of honeybee colonies in the state, and ranked #2 in honey production in 2013. Commercial hives also swarm, though beekeepers do their best to prevent it.

"Finding a swarm is a good thing. It means free bees, and it may mean very good genetics if it's from a wild colony that has managed to survive without human help for several years," Lay said. "Having your bees swarm is not so good. It means that about half of them have decided to go live somewhere else."

Many commercial beekeepers will collect swarms at no charge, and the Department of Agriculture maintains a statewide list of beekeepers who are interested in being contacted. Visit the department's website at or use the detailed list of beekeepers at interested can also contact the Apiary Program at the Montana Department of Agriculture at 406-444-3144.

The Montana Department of Agriculture's mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit .


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