Watch for swarms, help bees survive

This photo, from the Missouri State Beekeepers Association, shows Boone County beekeepers Nancy and Domenic Giofre collecting a honey bee swarm. For more information, visit the MSBA website (

Local beekeepers Wren Haffner and Ian Giesbrecht recently captured a swarm of honey bees using this swarm trap they hung in a tree at their Gainesville-area home

The Missouri State Beekeepers Association asks residents to be aware that honey bees swarm during the spring when they’re looking for a new home. Swarms usually appear as a large, vibrating lump of bees that may be found clinging to a car bumper, a fence, a tree limb, a porch rail – or just about anywhere. Ozark Countians who happen to find a swarm are encouraged to contact local beekeepers to collect the swarm so the bees “are given a new home and continue to do what they do best – pollinate,” says the MSBA.

The association says honey bees, when they’re swarming “are usually not aggressive. ... They stay a short time in a temporary location as the scouts look for a suitable new home for the 60 percent or so who have left the original nest.” 

The MSBA announcement adds, “The survival rate of these clusters is only about 25 percent, so they need the help you can give them.”

Ozark Countians can contact these beekeepers who may be willing to capture swarms if conditions are right:


Wren Haffner and

 Ian Giesbrecht



Leo Sharashkin


Sharashkin, who captures swarms in Ozark and Douglas counties, says email is the best way to contact him.


The swarm-capturing beekeeper will want to know:

• How high up is the swarm?

• What is it hanging from?

• Is it easily accessible?

• How large is the swarm?

• How long has it been there?

The beekeeper will also want to know that the bees are definitely honey bees. A smart phone photo may be requested as well as a detailed description of the bees. Also, be aware that honey bees typically live in hives or trees and are not usually aggressive. Yellow jackets, on the other hand, live in the ground and are aggressive.

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423