It isn’t often Luke Dreyer of Dreyer Hill Farm is called to help take care of a honey bee invasion.
On Friday, he was called to an Alpena home and found a fairly large swarm. “What happened is the hive they came from was either sick or just got too big for the space they were in, and so they are looking for a new home,” he said. “The queen and a decent portion of the hive just took off looking for that home. They’ve had some bees go on ahead and try to find a suitable place but they can only fly so far before they get tired.”
To some, it may seem like a dangerous situation when getting into the middle of the swarm, but honey bees usually aren’t very aggressive and that’s why Dreyer only received one sting throughout the process. He even started moving them into a box with his bare hands. “They don’t have a home right now,” he said. “So their only goal is to protect each other and the queen, and if I’m not bothering them or being really rough, they don’t care I’m there at all.”
Once Dreyer is able to get the queen into the box, the rest followed. His next step is to take them home where he hopes they’ll be able to live comfortably. “The queen will move into the new boxes and her scent will start to tell the others this is home, this is where we belong and they’ll all start filtering in there,” he said. “As long as they accept the new hive, they’ll stay there.”
Honey bees play a crucial role in our ecosystem and that’s why Dreyer says always call a bee keeper, never an exterminator. “Honey bees are the top pollinator in the world,” he said. “There are other insects that will do pollination but not to the extent of a honey bee. They are actually vital to our food crops so we don’t want to kill them. We want to do everything we can to keep them alive.”
According to Dreyer, it’s possible there could have been about 10,000 bees in this swarm.