Swarm season for bees is usually at the end of spring.
Last spring, KHON2 reported how beekeepers across the state had their hands full with increased swarms, which is usually good news for bees because it means the hive is healthy.
But it can cause problems for homeowners.
Beekeepers on Maui tell KHON2 they have been getting more calls to remove bee colonies growing inside the walls of homes.
“Calls have been picking up recently and last year, we were getting one to two calls a day,” said Miki‘ala Pua‘a Freitas, who runs Kapuna Farms.
“When you are getting a lot of swarm calls, it means the hives are full and crowded,” said Steve Montgomery, vice president of the Hawaii Beekeepers’ Association. “Swarming is the bees’ natural way to reproduce.”
But there are other factors that can cause bees to swarm as well, from viruses caused by other insects to loss of habitat.
“There are new subdivisions popping up and a lot of times bee habitat is being lost in that area, and instead of going and finding a tree, these bees are going and finding people’s homes,” said Pua‘a Freitas.
That is when Kapuna Farms moves in to help safely remove the bees without harming them.
“We just go out and rescue honey bees and we bring them back to the farm and we set up an environment for them,” said Pua‘a Freitas.
Removing bees from homes is something Oahu beekeeper Steve Montgomery has also dealt with. He too safely moves the bees.
“There is a housing shortage for bees and their instincts is to adapt to what is available,” said Montgomery.
With the potential for another busy swarm season, what can you do if you come home to a house full of bees?
“I think the best thing to do is to contact a beekeeper who has had experience to deal with bees that are in the wrong place,” said Montgomery.
You can also try to bee-proof your home by checking for any openings bees might try to fly into.
“Make sure all the holes are closed up, especially around pipes or in corners,” said Montgomery. “It can be a hole just a quarter-inch in diameter, but that is enough for the queen and the drones and workers to crawl in there.”
Bees removed by both Kapuna Farms and Montgomery are taken to other areas where they can flourish.