It’s bee season in Lompoc and swarms of them have been popping up at local businesses and homes.
Beekeepers say they’re getting three to five calls a day.
A swarm of bees was spotted outside Lompoc Valley Medical Center on Tuesday.
“It was a large bunch of bees, probably tens of thousands of them tucked into the bush behind me. They weren’t bothering anybody,” said Nora Wallace. “Nobody was running from them screaming. They were just clumped in a bush until earlier this morning.”
Lompoc Valley Medical Center staff called the Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association. The president of the local organization, Jim Rice, says this is typically a busier season but this year stands out.
“We had such a good rain year, now we have abundant food for the bees and as a result, the colonies that were already here have expanded to the point they’re outgrowing the space that they’re in and they’re throwing off swarms pretty quickly,” Rice added.
If you see a swarm, you’re likely not in any danger because bees don’t have a home to defend.
“When they’re swarming, they’re between places. They’ve left where their home was and they’re going to some unknown place to build a new colony,” Rice said.
Once bees pick out a hive, they are protecting their food, larvae and their queen bee. That’s when you’ll want to keep your distance.
Rice says bees typically pick hollowed-out trees to settle in, but sometimes colonies decide to cozy up inside homes.
“Where you don’t want them to go is in your walls or in your attic,” Rice said. “That seems to be one of the problems that we’re dealing with.”
Rice warns against pesticide, which would kill bees.
“We need the honeybees. They pollinate the crops,” he added.
Instead, your first call should be to a beekeeper.