Why are bee swarms popping up in Oregon?

Why are bee swarms popping up in Oregon? »Play Video
A swarm of bees in a tree outside a Southwest Portland home on Tuesday. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Bees have been to Darin Campbell’s Southwest Portland home before.

A week ago, he found more than 10,000 in a swarm hanging from one of his fruit trees.

“The previous week there was some worry. When you see the bees swarming around you have some sort of fear factor involved,” Campbell said.

But are they dangerous? Bee keeper Tim Wessels says no, if you deal with them the right way. He’s found a lot of swarms in our area lately.

“I think this will be our ninth or tenth swarm we’ve gotten in the last two weeks,” he said.

Why are we seeing more swarms? The Northwest has a hearty queen bee that can survive cooler winters, and the mild spring has the queens’ daughters out early looking for places to start a hive. They’re not interested in stinging you when they’re on the move, Wessels said.

When you see a swarm, you should not spray it with a hose or insecticide. That will just get the bees riled up.

“What happens sometimes is they get caught between material, your clothing and your skin, and they don’t want to sting you, but they get nervous and scared and they start to smash up against you and you’ll get stung,” said Wessels.

If you find a swarm in a tree or on a car, it may be gone in a few hours or a day. The queens can’t travel very far at one time. They have to stop and rest often.

If you have a problem with a swarm, contact the Oregon State Beekeepers Association.

We heard about the bees from a KATU news tip. If you see news happening where you live, send us an email to newstips@katu.com.