West Seattle bee season continues: Swarm at Westwood

May 12, 2014 at 12:47 pm | In West Seattle news, Wildlife | 16 Comments

12:47 PM: On our way to check out multiple reports of a bee swarm at Westwood. We mention it in advance because beekeepers have asked us to mention as often as possible, please do NOT panic, do NOT try to poison them – swarming is natural, especially this time of year, and the best thing to do is to contact somebody on the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association‘s swarm list to come remove them – if you can’t just wait them out. Here’s our recent story about all this.

1:31 PM: We are here and a beekeeper (above, in hat) is too. He says this is a relatively small group, maybe 20,000. They break off from a hive and hang out 15 minutes to 2 days until a scout brings back word of a suitable new spot. He will hang out after collecting these so the scouts come back. Photos shortly.

2:01 PM: Photos added. The beekeeper, Clay Cook (who is on this year’s list of PSBA beekeepers to call about swarms), says it’s home turf for him since he works part-time at Westwood Village. He said that bees swarming like this generally would have left their original hive not far away, so any of the “scouts” that scattered while he was up there and didn’t make it into his box would likely find their way back to that nest.

It was heartening to see people stopping and remarking how cool it was to see the bees, instead of getting scared and bolting (of course, it’s understandable if you’re allergic; one passing driver slowed down and then, when informed that the buzz was about bees, said she needed to get out of there since she is).

16 Comments

  1. At first I couldn’t figure out why the north door of QFC was closed; thought maybe someone drove into it. A lot of that does seem to be going around. Needed to shop so went in via the south door and learned about the swarm. Oh, how I wished for a camera! The beekeeper had the queen and the worker bees (honey bees) were finding their way into the box. I’m glad Clay, the beekeeper, was there to know what to do, especially as honeybees are endangered by colony collapse disorder. All in all, as long as no one got stung, it was neat to see!

    Comment by Karen Sykes — 2:30 pm May 12, 2014 #

  2. Oh, I’m so envious. Wish I could have seen this. I agree with Karen – how great that the beekeeper was there. Thank you to the person that called in a professional!

    Comment by Lauri — 3:00 pm May 12, 2014 #

  3. Shortly after we arrived, we overheard the security guy (in photo, in vest marked “Security”) apparently talking to the office, telling them the situation. After he hung up, we started to say, hey, we can get you the Beekeepers’ Association phone number to call, and he informed us they had already been called and were on the way. Having grown up in a bee-phobic era, I am still always afraid that the first response would be a can of Raid, and always glad when it’s not – TR

    Comment by WSB — 3:04 pm May 12, 2014 #

  4. I went to the store earlier today to get groceries for tonight’s dinner and got to cross off “see a bee swarm” from my bucket list. I’ve always been curious about bees and their social structure, so it was cool to see what I’d read about actually taking place. Hope those bees have fun in their new home! GJ Westwood for taking appropriate action to save them!

    Comment by Barbara Mason — 8:00 pm May 12, 2014 #

  5. Ah, so that’s what the buzz was about.
    Would liked to have seen it.

    Comment by WestSide45 — 9:23 pm May 12, 2014 #

  6. Yayyyy!!! This makes my heart happy. Thank you WSB for posting this!

    Bees are very docile when they swarm like this. No reason to fear them. They do this when their home feels too small; they just divide the hive and look for a new place.

    Bees are on the decline right now and this is dangerous because we need them to pollinate our food. Please take care of the bees! You can do this by planting bee friendly plants in your yard, such as lavender and rosemary, and you can even keep bees! It’s easy. Please stop using insecticides, especially products with neonicotinoids, and other pesticides.

    We all have to work together to save our bees!

    Comment by i'mcoveredinbees — 10:20 pm May 12, 2014 #

  7. Thank you to those in the beekeeping community for addressing this particular swarming event, and for their ongoing efforts to educate people about honeybees, their importance to our very human existence, and the current peril they face from colony collapse disorder.
    If the bees die, we die.

    Comment by pupsarebest — 11:27 pm May 12, 2014 #

  8. How wonderful!! And I’m so delighted to hear people’s reaction of interest and appreciation rather than fear…I love West Seattleites!

    Comment by Trileigh — 7:29 am May 13, 2014 #

  9. Does anyone else recall a program with one of the local bee guys where you can “rent out” space in your yard for a bee hive, and in return you get some honey once in awhile? The beekeeper does all the handling, and the space is all that’s provided by the homeowner. Sound familiar to anyone? We are interested but cannot recall the details and Google is failing me.

    Comment by AG — 9:30 am May 13, 2014 #

  10. Nice! Thanks to Westwood for doing the right thing, to WSB for running the story, and to all our community members who are doing what they can to help restore the hives in the face of the colony collapse epidemic. Come to the Bee Garden in High Point to learn more about these small-but-mighty important little creatures!

    Comment by enviromaven — 9:31 am May 13, 2014 #

  11. AG,

    Yes, That is an apprentice run hive host program through Seattle Beeworks. It’s a great program, and you can find more info. here:

    http://seattlebeeworks.com/bees/

    Comment by ellenater — 2:51 pm May 13, 2014 #

  12. thanks to dow & monsanto and a few other killers of all things, the lowly bee is getting the dirty end of the stick .. without the little bee a lot of our every-day food stocks would be extremly expensive. so when you run squeeling for the raid, stop and think is the bee really bothering you that much ? if he is bothering you ,you are probably wearing to much perfume… you leave him alone, he will do the same.

    Comment by Robert — 8:53 pm May 13, 2014 #

  13. Before you commit to fostering honeybees in your yard, consider instead, doing things to help and encourage our native bees. I decided not to bring honeybees in, ’cause someone has to help the natives, some of which are also in decline. I bought a book about it, and am just starting to learn about these interesting creatures.

    Comment by mmb — 9:20 pm May 13, 2014 #

  14. I love bees, but neither my partner nor my brother understand them. You’d see them running away while I’d be fascinated by a scene like this. I guess it takes all kinds to make a world… if only the haters weren’t so keen on slaughtering the lot. Nature is a delicate balance, and it’s up to us as the sapient species to ensure we do what we can to avoid harming the environment more than we already have.
    As for allergies, I know I’m not allergic to bee stings, but I carry an Epi-pen with me because I’m under treatment for other allergies. It wouldn’t be much of a problem for me or my loved ones if they happened to be around if a swarm got upset, and if I saw someone in need I’d offer my help.

    Comment by KAN — 4:21 am May 14, 2014 #

  15. And I thought it was just wannabes that swarm Westwood.

    Comment by BlairJ — 11:16 am May 14, 2014 #

  16. Thanks Ellenater and Mmb. We already have a highly bee-friendly garden and have been very cautious to plant bee and butterfly friendly plants as we have an extensive fruit and veggie garden. We’re full of mason bees right now in our front yard, but have plenty of space to also allow a honeybee hive. I’m all for doing both, since we can. :-)

    Comment by AG — 12:46 pm May 16, 2014 #

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