Looking for a new home

A buzz in the air
A swarm of bees made a rest stop for a few days last week in the burning bush on the north side of the Larry and Charlene Gates home in Lime Springs. This is the size of a football.

A swarm of bees showed up on the north side of the Larry and Charlene Gates home in Lime Springs on Wednesday, May 23.

Sue Barnes of Iowa State Extension said it is a common occurrence in nature for bees to move from one home to another. “It just normally doesn’t happen where people can see it.”

The hive was possibly getting too populated, or their home was destroyed, so the bees did some spring cleaning. A portion or all of the hive went looking for a new place to live.

Charlene knows the swarm came after noon on Wednesday because over the lunch hour she was working in her flower beds near the burning bush where they landed. A little later, Holly Kitchen, from across the street, noticed a lot of bee activity and was concerned for her young children.

She was told bees are usually docile and are not going to attack unless they are provoked.

Barnes said, “They were gathering in search of a new home, and it should be a short-term problem.” The bees usually stick around for a day or two. She said it would be a concern if they stuck around for a week or more. As it is, they took off for places unknown around noon on Friday, May 25. They stuck around about 48 hours.

The Gates’ decided to put up a barrier to keep people safe. They were given the option of letting them stay until their leader found a new home or have them exterminated. Charlene said, “I didn’t want to exterminate them. Right now there is a shortage of bees.”

Barnes said we’ll never know where they came from or where they are going, but “it is certainly an uncommon phenomenon in public.” She got her information from local beekeepers and from the Iowa State Extension website.

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