Jersey bees are back

June 19, 2008 5:07:56 PM PDT
After being declared endangered, honey bees are making a comeback in certain parts of South Jersey. It's sweet news to beekeepers like Seth Belson of Cherry Hill, the president of the South Jersey Beekeepers Assn.

After years of having their populations decimated by mites and the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder, it looks like honeybees are coming back.

"Normally when you see a swarm it's Mother Nature's way of telling you that they're doing well," said Belson.

This spring beekeepers like Belson have been capturing swarms of bees that have broken off from their hives and are finding their way into buildings, homes, trees and backyards.

Rev. Richard Wrede of Christ Episcopal Church in Riverton says bees have descended on his church. These are just a fraction of the thousands he says have been buzzing around lately making their hives behind the walls of the parish hall to the point where it's seeping through and dripping onto the floor.

"I like to think of this as a place where people can enjoy the sweetness of the Lord but that was supposed to be more theological and figurative than literal," said Rev. Wrede.

Seeing a swarm in your house or on your property can be scary, but this may be the sweetest you'll ever see the bees. They're full of honey and not very aggressive because they're not defending a home--they're looking for one.

"They're absolutely at their most gentle. Their goal is to find a home. It's nothing but a staging point," said Belson.

Things have slowed down, but if you see a swarm of bees don't spray them with anything. Leave them alone and they'll likely leave in a couple days. If they're in the house like they are at Christ Church that's a different story--you may need to call a beekeeper like Seth to safely evict them.