Information courtesy of the Texas A&M AgriLife Exention. To view the full Texas A&M AgriLife publication on Honey Bees, please click HERE.
For information on Africanized Honey Bees, please click HERE.
It is common to see honey bees foraging for food and water around homes and other structures. Foraging bees are away from the colony and are not likely to sting because they have nothing to defend. Bees visiting flower and other food sources should be left undisturbed.
To discourage foraging bees from gathering around a home or business, remove or prevent access to attractants such as ripening fruit, opened soda cans and pet water dishes. Make sure outdoor garbage receptacles are covered and well-sealed. Some flowers, trees and shrubs attract bees when in bloom. It is impractical to try to remove all the plants that might attract bees, so people with a fear of bees or allergies to bee venom should simply avoid those areas.
Many people have never encountered bee swarms even though they occur every year. With literally thousands of bees in the air, swarms may appear dangerous.
In fact, they pose little threat. Eventually the swarm will land and remain clustered in one place for a few hours or several days. During that time scout bees are looking for a suitable nesting site. Once the scouts find a new nest site and communcate its location to the swarm, the bees will move on to their new home. If a swarm lands in a remote site, it should be left alone. The swarm does not contain stored food or immature bees so the bees have nothing to defend and are unlikely to sting.
Swarms that land near buildings or high traffic areas should be managed. Bees may try to nest in wall voids or floors of buildings if they can gain entry. Professional and hobby beekeepers are often unwilling to collect swarms because of the possibility of introducing diseases, mites or Africanized bees into their own colonies. If no one can be found to remove a swarm near a building or in a high traffic area, the swarm may need to be destroyed.