Spring is a time to bee kind, Walla Walla-area beekeeper notes

Beekeepers note this is the season for bee swarms, which are harmless and sought after by professionals.

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A beekeeper/honey maker reaches in to a huge swarm of honey bees in a crevice of the Drumheller Building to move them in to a bee box. The beekeeper estimated there were around 8,000-10,000 bees swarming a queen that had left a hive when it got too large. The bees tumbled from the building in thick drops like honey the spread out quickly as the bees flew out and then back towards the queen.

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Downtown passers-by watch a large group of honey bees swarm together into a large mass hanging from a tree branch near the corner of First Avenue and Alder Street Friday afternoon. The swarm landed on the branch mid-day Friday and stopped swarms of pedestrian and vehicular traffic along First Avenue all afternoon.

WALLA WALLA -- 'Tis the season for swarming, so if you see one, don't reach for the insecticide. Call a beekeeper.

That's the message Michael Dudenkov and his fellow beekeepers want to put out now that the weather is warming up and bee swarms are likely.

Bees tend to swarm in May and June and local beekeepers are more than willing to come out and capture the bees. "We do this for free anyway," he said. "All we're asking is for (people) to call us."

Along with calling for a beekeeper, the best course of action people should take is to just leave the swarm alone, Dudenkov said. "Just let them be. Don't disturb them, don't spray them and don't throw things at them."

The phone number people should call will ring Dudenkov's cell phone. Local beekeepers have a phone network so if he can't come, others will be contacted until somebody available is found.

Capturing a swarm is a fairly simple business and shouldn't cause any damage to vegetation or structures. Dudenkov said in many instances he just uses a mesh container which is slipped over the mass and then covered to capture them. In other cases where a swarm is in a confined space, he has a special vacuum that can suck the insects into a container without harming them.

"Last year we saved more than 100 swarms in Walla Walla alone," he said. "And that's just us local beekeepers."

Swarm hotline

509-522-0107

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