- Report a Swarm
Welcome to the San Francisco Beekeepers Association!
Mark Twain is credited with saying that “the coldest winter he ever experienced was a summer in San Francisco.” He may have been right!
However, this truism does not mean San Francisco is a bad place for honey bees or for beekeeping.
In fact, San Francisco is a great place for honey bees. We enjoy a mild Mediterranean climate and a continuous flowering of trees, shrubs and plants for nearly 10 months out of the year.
Need help with a swarm?
Honeybee swarms are easy to identify. A swarm is a large mass of bees clinging to an object such as a tree branch or bush, side of house, or even just on the ground.
Do not panic if you find a swarm of honeybees on or near your property, and do not reach for a pesticide or call an exterminator. Swarming bees are not aggressive; in fact, they are very gentle. They have no colony of brood, pollen or honey to protect. They are just hanging out until some of their “scouts bees” can find a suitable location for the swarm to set up a new home. Moreover, honey bees are beneficial insects even in an urban environment. They are generalists, pollinating fruit trees, vegetable gardens as well as native and non-native plants in our yards and parks.
However, because the most suitable of locations within an urban environment for a swarm to take up residence are spaces in walls and attics of structures, it is best to have a beekeeper capture the swarm, remove it from the property and give it a suitable home in a hive box. Honey bees live in cavities, and fill the cavities up with wax comb in which they raise their young, store pollen and nectar for food. They do not live in the ground. If you have a buzzing insect going in and out of a hole in the ground or among debris, it most likely is a yellow jacket or a wasp of some kind. Here are some pictures to help distinguish between a honey bee, a wasp and yellow jacket: