Bee swarm in San Antonio-area backyard not uncommon this time of year

Swarming is the method honey bees use to reproduce

Bee swarm seen in Cibolo, Texas. (Teresa Jones, KSAT 12)

CIBOLO, Texas – It’s bee swarming season in South Texas once again and one Cibolo resident discovered this first hand Thursday morning when a swarm of bees appeared in her backyard.

Teresa Jones spotted the swarm in her backyard and told KSAT she had never seen a bee swarm before.

“My poor dog gunner was terrified to come inside. I’m assuming he may have gotten stung,” said Jones. “I stepped outside to look for him and noticed him in the corner of my yard so I had to carry him in.”

Another bee swarm in nearby Universal City forced the closure of a popular splash pad and park earlier this week.

Swarming is the method honey bees use to reproduce, bee specialist Gary Rankin previously told KSAT.

Rankin has worked with bees for more than four decades and is the owner of The Bee Place, an apiary in Somerset.

“Once a colony of bees reaches the maximum capacity of a current living space (think: filling the cavity of a hollow in a tree with honeycomb and bees) and there are ample resources available, such as plenty of food-producing blooms in the spring, the colony receives signals from this growth state that they are healthy enough to reproduce,” said Rankin.

Jones said the bees were still in her backyard by late Thursday morning.

“Reproductive swarms usually happen in the springtime when forage is plentiful,” Fort Bend County AgriLife Extension Agent Boone Holladay said.

Last year, a bee swarm showed up in the backyard of a Live Oak couple who found the swarm hanging onto their birdbath.

“If the bees are clustered on a structure, like a tree limb, that is typically a swarm resting and not aggressive. If the bulk of the bees are not visible, and only a few are seen coming and going through an opening, like a crack in a wall or hollow opening of a tree, then keep away and know they have taken up residence in that space and will defend their home and young just as we do with our own homes and loved ones,” said Rankin.

Rankin has a page on his website, TheBeePlace.com, that explains the swarming process in full detail. He notes that swarms of bees will sometimes rest after scouting for future home sites.

If you think you see a bee swarm or a hive on your property, contact a local beekeeper to assist with removals and swarm capturing.

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.