Surviving the swarm: Arizona bee season in full swing

Posted at 7:57 PM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-02 09:32:30-04

They’re on the move this time of year. Hundreds, maybe thousands at a time.

"At some point there are too many bees [in a hive], and half of them leave,” said Goodyear Battalion Chief Ed Pahl.

“The new queen bee leaves and they follow the queen bee and she doesn’t fly as well as the other bees so the queen bee will stop, like in somebody's front yard," explained Pahl.

Goodyear fire says there’s science behind the swarming.

"The bees will come up, they will protect the queen and then they send scout bees out to see if there is a suitable area there," said Pahl.

The “clump” of bees will appear in a tree or bush and if a new home isn’t located in a day or two, Pahl says the swarm moves on.

Pahl says the mere presence of the bees, doesn’t necessarily mean there is an emergency.

Goodyear firefighters were sent to 30 bee calls in 2016.

Two of those calls turned into “bee assignments” which indicates additional resources were sent to deal with the bees.

"Most of the time we arrive, because somebody sees or believes they see what they think is a hive in the front yard they will call 911.

“We show up we look at we say yeah there are bees. But are they attacking anybody? No? You need to call a beekeeper," said Pahl.

Firefighters are the first line of defense during a bee attack.

They use a detergent, water mixture to combat the swarm.

"The foam is very effective for knocking the bees out of the air. They hit the ground pretty quick," said Pahl.

Goodyear Fire says killing bees is only a last resort.