Honey Bee Swarm Rescue

You just noticed what appears to be a honeybee swarm. You have read in the newspapers, or seen on TV, stories about how the US honeybee population is seriously dwindling and you want to call a beekeeper to capture the swarm. Congratulations for your concern. If not captured, it is likely that the bees will not have enough time to establish a new home with enough honey stored for the coming long, cold winter months when they will need this stored food to keep warm (honey bees do not hibernate).

Swarms are colonies of honeybees that are in transition from their overcrowded home to a new residence. Normally they are found hanging in clusters from tree limbs, a fence post or any place where the swarm can gather around the Queen while scouts are sent out to look for a more permanent home. A swarm will only be in place for a few hours to a day or so and will disappear just as quickly as it arrived. Generally these honeybees are very docile and usually will not sting. When honeybees swarm they gorge themselves with honey before leaving the hive which makes it very hard for them to double over and sting.

Before calling a beekeeper, let's make certain that you have a swarm of honeybees, which need to be captured, and not a nest of yellow jackets, wasps, bumblebees or hornets. A beekeeper is not equipped to remove or exterminate other bees.

Time of Year - Swarms typically occur from late April until mid-July, but almost never in the late summer or fall.

Cluster Appearance - A honeybee swarm can be described as a compact cluster of bees, as small as a grapefruit, to as large as a basketball. Swarms also appear suddenly - you may have seen them settle onto the branch or bush. No nest materials will be seen or found.

Note: Most beekeepers are willing to travel to all counties surrounding Carroll. We listed their location area for reference only.

Honeybee Swarm in a Tree Honeybee Swarm in a Tree Honeybee Swarm in a Tree
Bee Appearance - Honeybees are golden, brown, or even gray in appearance and they are furry with stripes on their abdomen. Honeybee Closeup Photo
Yellow Jackets are sometimes mistaken for honeybees. Yellow jackets are yellow and have no fur.
Yellow Jacket Yellow Jacket

When calling the beekeeper, be prepared to answer some questions:

  • How high is the swarm from the ground?
  • Can it be reached using a 6 foot step ladder?
  • Is the area level enough to secure a ladder?
  • Is the swarm on the end of a tree limb?
  • How long has the swarm been there?
  • Do you have any ladders?

If you find a swarm of bees it is important to contact a beekeeper immediately!

Note: Most beekeepers are willing to travel to all counties surrounding Carroll. We listed their location area for reference only.

Beekeeper Contact List
Name Phone Location
Larry Truchon 410-207-4639 Finksburg/Westminster
Fred Sypher 443-564-3496 South of Westminster
Gary Pohlner 443-271-2047 Manchester
David Mulder 410-239-6938 Northern Carroll County
Steve McDaniel 443-507-6367 Manchester
Bill Hemelt 443-375-0858 or 410-876-1357 Finksburg
Allen Hayes 410-489-2835 Woodbine/Mt Airy
John Hammersla 240-446-8635 Mt Airy
Chris Gunther 443-340-8159 Sykesville/Eldersburg
Larry Fritz 410-804-7652 South of Westminster
James & Mary Doane 301-997-8707 New Windsor/Libertytown
Mike Davidson 443-244-1350 Manchester/Hampstead
Brad Criddle 410-751-9220 or 410-935-7260 Finksburg