Friday, June 7, 2013


Photo by Fred Heath 5/11/2013

This swarm of bees was seen on the Bluff Trail. Dangerous? No. I quote Carl Olson's letter to the editor of the AZ Star in its entirety:

Re: the April 26 article "Wildflower season is also bee season; swarms are a danger."
Well, thanks for writing an article to spread fear and paranoia around the city where none belongs.
The term "swarm" refers to an old queen recruiting worker bees to leave the hive and find a new home, not honeybees attacking an intruder in their territory. Worker bees in a swarm have filled their crop with honey, so do not become aggressive. They get tired and alight on a branch or other object, protect the queen inside and await information from scouts.
If you had written an educational article, people would understand that the hive with offspring is protected by the surrogate mothers and may present danger to people and pets, so that hive should be removed.
A swarm that rests on a branch probably will leave within a day and presents little danger unless someone gets bonkers and starts spraying them or swatting at them.
Please learn some terminology. Hive = colony = offspring = mother's protection = potential danger.
Swarm = workers full of food = lethargic = tired = ephemeral = not a problem.
Paranoia and fear = not what nature is all about.
Carl A. Olson
Retired entomologist, Tucson

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