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People might well be staying home, but spring has led to swarms of honeybees doing the rounds in search of a new place to live.

Rebecca Fain, president of the Central Coast Beekeepers Association, said this is the time of year when a lot of people panic about swarms.

“Swarming is a natural biological phenomenon for honeybees and other pollinators,” she said. “It is an important part of maintaining this beneficial species in our environment. Every honeybee colony matters in this age of population decline, so finding a new home for these swarms is what we as beekeepers want to do.”

Fain says swarm season lasts until about July; and offers a few tips and suggestions if you do see a swarm in your yard this spring.

“When the bees swarm, they are temporarily in limbo looking for another place to live,” she said. “Please contact us at the association, at 541-997-3792, so we can arrange to have a beekeeper come out and take care of the bees.”

While waiting for help to arrive, the bees might get a little cranky, so spraying them with a light, simple sugar spray (one part water to one part sugar) can help calm them down. Of course, the spray bottle needs to be clean and free from any pesticide or herbicide residues.

If you get stung, which is unlikely because the bees are concerned about finding their new home, treat with ice or a cold compress to reduce the swelling. Excessive swelling, difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness could indicate a bee sting allergy — call 911 immediately.

Beekeepers collecting swarms is considered an essential activity of managing livestock during COVID-19 restrictions and is approved with social distancing measures in place.

For more information, contact the Central Coast Beekeepers Association at centralcoastbeekeepers@gmail.com or 541-997-3792.

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