Letter to the Editor

Tips regarding honeybees

Spring has sprung and that means it's swarm season for honeybees. Don't be surprised if you see a large cluster of bees hanging on your mailbox, rosebush, bird feeder or on the end of a large limb. Honeybees are a valuable resource to our food chain and a valued asset to any beekeeper. Here's some quick advice.

1. Don't panic. Most swarms are not aggressive but will retaliate if provoked. If you are allergic to bee stings, stay away from them. They are not a piata. Don't whack them with a stick.

2. Don't spray the bees with anything, period. Most common household wasp sprays will not kill honeybees. Some will die, but the rest just get ticked off!

3. Call a beekeeper. Most emergency responders (i.e. police and fire), the Missouri Department of Conservation and local exterminators have lists of beekeepers who will gladly come and safely remove the bees.

4. Unless you see a discernible cluster of bees, about the size of a milk jug, you don't have a swarm. A beekeeper cannot come out and remove a cloud of bees foraging all over your flowers.

5. Don't worry. If no one can respond to your call, the bees will eventually move on and find a new home. But the sooner you call a professional, the sooner your fears can be relieved.

We need the bees. Your assistance and cooperation are greatly appreciated.

GRANT GILLARD, president,

Missouri State Beekeepers, Jackson