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Swarms of bees out early in Frederick

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

FREDERICK, OK (KSWO) - Over the last few weeks, Frederick has been home to several swarms of bees, appearing uncharacteristically early because of our mild winter and warm early-year temperatures. It's been a concern for residents calling them a nuisance/worried about the dangers of getting stung.

In just the last 10 days there have been five swarms of bees captured from the trees and bushes around Frederick. Those swarms are usually a little bit bigger than a football and, in general, can have up to 18,000 bees in them at once.

Tillman County Emergency Manager Randy Hasley also serves unofficially as Frederick's beekeeper, a hobby he picked up in 2016. He said there weren’t a lot of bees in 2016, but the numbers have increased significantly this year.

"There are some bee hives in abandoned houses, they'll find a little crack and go in, they wintered there and now it's spring and it's time to find a new home,” Hasley said.

Hasley said the bees usually come out for the spring in late April or May, but with temperatures turning warm early, that process was sped up this year. He said the swarms form as bees in a beehive split into two groups, half will remain as the other half leaves with the queen, forming a swarm to protect her, while scout bees look for a place to build a new hive.

"When the scout comes back and they've found a new home, they'll jump up and leave,” Hasley said.

That process can take a few hours or a few days, so Hasley said it's very important to have them removed as quickly as possible. But he said you need to make sure you are staying safe.

"If you go out there with a spray can then they will attack you,” Hasley said. “They're not bad bees, but that's what they're bred to do is protect the home front."

Hasley said there's no reason to put yourself at risk of getting stung.

"They just need to leave them alone and here in Frederick, they can call dispatch, they can call the fire department, they can call me. If I can't get to it we'll get somebody else to them to get them a new home,” Hasley said.

Most people might not like dealing with bees, but Hasley said they are important to our society.

"Bees are the great pollinators of our fruits and vegetables, our pecan trees, our fruit trees, anything that blooms they will pollinate and they in turn get part of the pollen and they make the honey and everybody is happy,” Hasley said.

If pollination and honey aren't reason enough for you to not choose to kill the bees, Hasley said there is another reason. If you kill bees at your home and don't properly dispose of the beehive, the honey inside will spoil, start to rot and cause a terrible smell at your home.

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