Environment

Bee swarms may be more prevalent this time of year, county ag officials warn

County agricultural officials are warning residents to be on the lookout for bee swarms.

Fall is often the time when bee colonies become overcrowded and a swarm of bees leaves the hive to establish a new colony. When this happens people often see clouds of bees flying by or a clump of them resting on a fence post or some other object.

These swarms are harmless if left alone and will disappear within two to four days when the insects establish a new colony, said Martin Settevendemie, county agricultural commissioner.

“Their mission is to protect the queen, which is usually in the middle of the cluster of bees, and quickly find new home,” he said.

In addition to producing honey, bees pollinate crops that produce about a third of the foods Americans eat. Local crops pollinated by bees include almonds, cucumbers, apples, blueberries, avocados, seed crops and alfalfa.

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