Collecting swarms or rescuing a bee colony takes skills, experience and specialized equipment. If you are not a beekeeper and you come across a swarm or hive of bees on your property, you can call Calum McRae of Quinte Bee Rescue to come and help. He is also runs Owl Farms Honey.
Swarming is natural for bees as it is how new bee hives are formed. The queen, with a group of her bees, leaves the original hive and seeks a new place, such as a tree cavity or the wall of a house, to start a colony.
As well as collecting swarms Calum McRae has rescued bee colonies from felled hollow trees, from the wall of a derelict house, and a garbage bin at Trent Port Marina. He puts rescued bees into a particular yard so that he can check them for mites.
“We do this because we love bees’” said McRae. “Swarm collection is always free, however, if you have a beehive within the structure of your house, barn, chimney or out building it will cost you to have them removed. It’s a complex job that takes time and requires some equipment.”
Before you call him, make sure you have made the right identification and you are dealing with bees and not wasps or hornets, The Ontario Beekeepers’ Association has a great website all about bees.
You can contact Quinte Bee Rescue at (613) 243 0638 or email farmercalumhotmail.com.
Top photo: Harvest Hastings board member, Jenny Cook of Knuckle Down Farm, along with Stone Soup coordinator Michele Vindum of Plainfield Heritage