BEE AWARE: Bee season underway; dos and donts from a keeper

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) – Original Post

With spring weather in full bloom, bees are becoming more active.

For some of you, it might be sweet, but it might make you want to run.

So, we talked to a keeper with the buzz on how to deal with bees, and why the last thing you want to do is kill them.

Being close to bees might make you nervous, but Grant Gillard has been doing it since the ’80s.

“If you see a swarm of bees. First thing, don’t panic,” Gillard said.

Gillard said the middle of April is the beginning of bee season.

“We’re seeing the swarms, which sometimes show up in your backyard. They show up at the park, in parking lots, they show up in different places,” Gillard said.

He said this means the bees aren’t out to get you, they’re just passing through.

“They’re moving through looking for a new home, and they’re looking for another hollow tree. It could be any cavity that fits a certain size that meets the bee’s expectation,” Gillard said.

That new home may be in your yard.

“Don’t do this, I have to lock the doors down. I have to get all the kids out of the yard. Don’t freak out, and don’t spray them,” Gillard said.

If you see one, just be cool and walk away.

“Waving your hands frantically as if this will give them some kind of communication that you want them to go away. It doesn’t. This to the bees is just movement. It makes them more agitated,” Gillard said.

Gillard said the best thing you can do for bees is something you might not expect. You might want to keep those weeds in your yard.

“Don’t mow it every other day. Just let it go, let it grow up a little bit. Let things flower. Let the bees enjoy it, and then mow it off, and it’s going to regrow, but don’t mow it so incessantly,” Gillard said.

Whatever you do, don’t kill them.

“We’ve seen a decline in bees. Mostly through pesticides, and through a loss of habitat, and lots of foraging opportunities,” Gillard said.

Remember, they make the sweet stuff.

“Those swarms are valuable to us, and so there’s a beekeeper around that will come and get them, and usually for free,” Gillard said.

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