In Phoenix and surrounding cities, bees and hive moves are especially serious matters because our bees are often Africanized. That means they are more aggressive than the average honeybee.
When an inexperienced person bothers a beehive or swarm, they can get seriously hurt or even die. It’s best to call Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Control at the first sign of a swarm.
Why Bees Move their Hive
Hive moving occurs when a queen and at least half the worker bees are relocating.
The role of the queen, the largest bee in the hive, is to mate, produce, and move hives. She communicates to drone and worker bees through pheromones passed during food sharing. While all of the bees communicate with pheromones, the queen’s is a special hormone that attracts worker bees to herself and encourages them to tend to the young, build the comb, and forage for food.
The queen keeps the hive growing but when the hive becomes too large, workers no longer receive the pheromone messages from the queen. To them, she is gone and they quickly begin the process to produce a new queen.
A hive cannot exist with two queens so once the new queen is ready, workers begin hive moving to a new location with the new queen, splitting the original hive.
What You Can Do (and what to Avoid)
You may see a large group of bees, often thousands, moving together in a clump, protecting their queen. She isn’t the best at flying so they will need to stop along the way to their new hive. You may see a swarm of bees on your patio, in a tree, or around the neighborhood. When a hive is moving, the honey bees are especially territorial.
- Don’t spray with pesticides as this will serve only to provoke them.
- Do not throw rocks or poke with a stick.
- Stay away.
In Phoenix and other Arizona cities, there’s a good chance the bees are Africanized and more aggressive than an average honeybee. Stay away from a moving hive. Sometimes all you need to do is wait it out and the bees will move themselves.