Bees Swarming a Tree [SHOULD I BEE WORRIED?]

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It is April, which means time for bee swarming. It is normal to find bees everywhere, even in a tree. Trees are usually their temporary location until they find a permanent home. If you come across a swarm, do not freak out. You have come to the right place to learn how long bees will stay in a tree and what to do to get rid of them. 

A swarm of bees stays in a tree for anything from a few hours up to 24 hours. When they come to rest on a tree, they will eventually go away on their own. While the queen is resting, scout bees explore the area to find a new home. Sometimes they decide to stay and build a hive. A hive of bees will probably stay for much longer. In that case, you need to take some action.

Bees are part of nature. They love flowers, trees, and any place where they can sneak into. Their existence depends on swarming, since this is a part of how they reproduce and form new colonies. Now it is spring, a perfect time for bees because flowers are in bloom, which means plenty of nectar and pollen for them to collect. 

When Spring is in the air, you will definitely notice bees, especially when it is sunny. It is the perfect weather for them to swarm. If you happen to see a swarm, do not worry. Bees are usually obedient and happy at this point, and will only ‘freak out’ if you do 🙂 If you still have some concerns about bees in a tree, keep reading, and you will learn all the finer details you will need!

How Long Do Bees Stay in a Tree?

Bees are unpredictable. You never know where they are going to build a new home next. Sometimes they tend to settle near your house or in a yard. You may have seen them multiple times in trees. They are there for a reason — swarming. As said before, swarming occurs in spring or later in a year as well, and the reason for it is a too crowded hive. Due to this, bees have to find a new home to settle.

In order to find out for how long bees stay in a tree, you need to know the distinction between a swarm and a beehive. The swarm represents part of the bee family that has decided to leave the hive. Bees hold this cluster by themselves. You will notice this in a little while after they leave their hive. Scout bees have to find a new place to live, and until they do so, bees stay in swarm formation. It is a temporary setup.

A Hive, on the other hand, is a permanent formation. It comprises pollen stores, honey, baby bees, and honeycomb, where they store everything they need. Hives are the most frequent reason people want to remove bees from some place, such as a tree.

Now that you know the difference between swarm and beehive, it is clear that a swarm of bees will not stay in a tree for a long time. They usually stay there for a few hours or a day, and they go as soon as they find a new home. Trees are their resting place (like the truck stops of the bee world!).

However, when bees decide to stay in a tree and build a hive, they are there for the long haul (more trucking references??).

Will Bees in Trees Go Away on Their Own?

As we mentioned before, bees are unpredictable. In the time of swarming, bees will usually rest in a tree and go away on their own when they are ready. When they are looking for a new home, a tree is their temporary location, and in a couple of hours, they are already leaving it and going to a new place. It also depends on the weather. When it is rainy, it may take more than one day for a swarm to move on from a tree.

The problem starts when bees build a hive in a tree. In that situation, they are not likely to leave the hive themselves. The more they stay in a tree, the more likely it will become their home. The first sign is seeing them building some comb. After they build their home, they will try to survive. Unfortunately, when winter comes, they may die from exposure.

How Do You Get Rid of Bees in a Tree?

When you find a swarm of bees in a tree, you do not have to do anything most of the time. Swarms are not permanent and they will eventually go if you ignore them. You just need to stay back from the swarm and enjoy watching them from a safe distance. 

However, here are some other options you can do as well:

  1. Offer to a beekeeper (if they are honey bees he or she will probably jump at the chance). They will gather the swarm and relocate it for you. Getting a beekeeper to adopt these stray bees is a much better option than calling a pest controller, but that could be your last resort if all else fails!
  2. If a swarm of bees in a tree presents a serious threat, you can use soapy water and spray it. This option is risky because of the large number of bees. Be prepared for stings!

It is different with beehives. They already built their home in a tree and will not leave it soon. In such a case, you should not ignore it but do something instead. These are the ways of getting rid of a beehive in a tree:

1. Knock Down the Hive

This is the most dangerous thing to do because displaced bees will be angry, and they may sting you. It is better to do this when it is clear the bees have abandoned their beehive, but don’t expect this to happen quickly 🙂

2. Call a Beekeeper/ Exterminator

Ask in your local beekeeping community, someone may be willing to remove the hive. Failing this we suggest you do not kill beehive on your own. The next best thing is to call an exterminator if you want to eliminate the hive immediately. An exterminator has all the knowledge and tools, and it will take more than one day to do it safely and effectively. After the process, your responsibility is to clean dead bees and remove the hive.

3. Open the Tree or Cut It Down

You need to open the tree or cut it down to cut out the brood comb and get the queen. Take the brood comb and put pieces of it in empty frames in a standard hive (along with the extracted queen) Other bees will follow the queen shortly after you move it. This is not a job for bee novices!

4. Smoke the Hive

This is an excellent method to remove a hive and without killing the bees. Find some bee smoker and fuel pellets at your local garden store. You will also need a scraping tool and a box on which you will place the hive. Poke a tiny hole in a box to let air in. The goal is to do this when bees are out pollinating. Then the hive will be empty, and you will perform the action.

Make sure to do this on a sunny day. Wear protective gear before you do anything else. Then, light the fuel inside the smoker. After that, disperse the smoke around the hive. Carefully remove the hive with a scraping tool and place it in a box. Do not forget to take the hive to a bee farm.

Now that we armed you with knowledge, you will be able to recognize the swarm of bees and beehive. If you see bees in a tree, do not go crazy. Look and see whether they are resting or building a home. If they pose you trouble, react immediately, consider doing some of these options of removing bees from trees successfully.


About Grampa Beekeeper

Having spent a lifetime tending to bees, I now want to pass my knowledge onto the next generation of beekeepers. Beekeeping may not be fashionable, but it is my life long passion! From entrance excluders to packaged bee handling, I've got you covered! I'm not the best at writing, though, so bear with me!!