It's bee season in Colorado; here's what to do if you encounter a swarm

DENVER – With the arrival of spring comes warmer weather, blooming plants and swarms of bees.

April marks the beginning bee-swarming season in Colorado. Bees will swarm when they outgrow a hive, with the queen taking about half of the hive’s bees with her in search of a new home. Swarming generally occurs between April 1 and Father’s Day in June.

You might see a swarm as a cloud of bees on the move or a large cluster of the insects on a tree branch, fence post or other surface.

If you spot a swarm of bees, don’t panic. Unless they’re disturbed, swarming bees are generally not aggressive and aren’t likely to sting anyone, according to Kristina Williams with Beehave in Boulder.

“If they don’t have a place to live, they don’t have anything to defend,” Williams said.

Bees are important pollinators and their populations have been in decline in recent years, so it’s important that you don’t reach for the bug spray as soon as you see a swarm.

Instead, keep your distance and call in experts who can round the bees up and safely transport them to a new home.

The Colorado State Beekeepers Association has a hotline you can call to report a swarm. Dial 1-844-SPY-BEES (1-844-779-2337) and be sure to listen to the different options, as different numbers correspond to different regions of Colorado. Once you make a report, a beekeeper should arrive within half an hour to take care of the swarm.

Denverbee.org also maintains a list of beekeepers who can handle swarms in the Denver metro area.

If you spot bees coming out of a water faucet, barbecue grill or other area in or around your home, that’s likely an established hive and requires extraction by an expert, Williams said. Beekeepers like to collect bees while they’re swarming in order to prevent the bees from building their hives in such places in the first place.

For more information, log on to the Colorado State Beekeepers Association website.

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