Beekeepers Urge Oklahomans To Rescue, Not Exterminate, Bee Swarms

Monday, April 10th 2017, 6:15 pm

This time of year, bee hives are expanding and swarms are showing up in unwanted places.

Monday in Broken Arrow was the latest rescue of a bee swarm; a rescue because sometimes people just spray them, and this is a better solution.

The swarm was higher than most up in a tree, but James Deming was ready with his homemade bee collector - a long pole and bucket.

He's responded to swarm calls all weekend, which he's happy to do.

The bees are saved instead of exterminated and they'll soon be producing for his Shadow Mountain Honey company.

“This is a temporary situation. They're sending scout bees out they're looking for a new home from that ball of bees. They'll be flying around this neighborhood, looking for a void in a tree, maybe an old squirrels nest in the hollow of a tree,” he said.

In this case, two swarms set up in the same tree. It's the natural cycle of expansion for bee hives, but plenty are exterminated by people frightened they'll be stung.

Deming said when bees are swarming they rarely sting, but beekeepers who rescue still wear suits as a precaution.

Carol and Doug Furgason got into beekeeping just a few years ago.

"The first year we lost both hives, it was a really bad winter," Carol said.

But now they have four hives in their backyard, enough the make hundreds of pounds of honey each year.

Deming is giving them one box of bees and keeping one for himself.

He said the most important thing is for people not to panic when they see a swarm because there's always a beekeeper eager to take them.

“We've got several beekeepers who work with us who we dispatch out to catch bees,” Deming said.

The bee swarm hotline for Shadow Mountain is 918-981-2337. You can find other beekeepers online eager to pick them up as well.