Swarm Notification

Please review the identification guide – 95% of the calls we get are not honeybees and we are a volunteer organization. We ask that to respect everyone’s time (including your own) you take action to identify them as best you can following the steps below. Thank you for helping keep local pollinators safe!

After identifying a swarm (see below) please email  President@nwdba.org with a photo or short video.

For the fastest response, include your Phone Number, Address, information on the location of the swarm (in a tree, on the ground, etc) 

Think that you may have a honeybee swarm? Here’s what you should do:

1. Positively identify a honeybee swarm:

Honeybee Swarm
Close-up of a Honeybee Swarm

2. Positively identify that they are honeybees, they will be “furry”, sometimes striped and up close they will look like this:

Apis Mellifera aka European Honeybee

3. Immediately report the swarm if it matches the above photos at:

4. DO NOT SPRAY THE SWARM WITH INSECTICIDE (Wasp, Hornet, Yellowjacket spray), wait for a beekeeper to come and safely remove it.

If what you are seeing is any of the following flying insects below, they should be removed by a professional exterminator:

Yellowjackets:

  • The Yellow Jacket (Vespula vulgera) is a stinging insect common to the Eastern United States and is found in medium-sized colonies of a couple hundred to a few thousand.
  • The nest is made of paper but is typically not visible. Usually, you will only see members of the colony coming and going from a small hole either in the ground or an external house wall.
  • The colony members are small and smooth (not hairy), with sharply contrasting yellow and black colors.
  • If you are stung by a Yellow Jacket, the stinger is not left in your skin since the stinger is not barbed. This means that, unlike Honey Bees, Yellow Jackets can sting you repeatedly.

Bald Faced Hornets:

  • The Bald Faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) is a stinging insect common to the United States and is found in medium-sized colonies of a couple hundred to a few thousand.
  • The nest is made of paper and is typically visible (see nest picture below), often found hanging from a tree branch (usually 10-20 feet above the ground).
  • The colony members are larger than Honey Bees, do not have body hair and exhibit coloration of a yellowish/white with contrasting black.
  • If you are stung by a Hornet, the stinger is not left in your skin since the stinger is not barbed. These colonies can be very defensive! While they usually keep to themselves, do not attempt to contact or handle a nest.

  • The Bald Faced Hornet’s nest can be as small as a football and as large as 3-4 feet long.
  • Do not attempt to contact or handle a nest. Hornets will vigorously defend their nest if you come in contact with it or are perceived as a threat.
  • Not all nests are found hanging from tree branches. Sometimes, nests can be found attached to the underside of external stair units, on the sides of buildings, and under porches.

Wasps:

  • While there are many Wasp species that nest in a variety of different configurations, the photo shows the most typical nest construction of a European wasp.
  • These stinging insects are usually found walking upon small (3-4 inch) nests. These nests, however, can be quite large (5-12 inches in diameter).
  • The nest is made of paper material and is usually located outside a human residence (under the eaves) attached to a facia or soffit. These nests are also commonly found up and inside the attic and bathroom vents.

Bumblebee:

  • The Bumble Bee (Genus: Bombus) is a stinging insect common to the United States and is found in small colonies of a couple hundred.
  • The nest is made of fibrous material (such as an abandoned mouse nest or bird’s nest), with small wax pots nested within the fiber. The nest is not typically visible. Usually, you will only see members of the colony coming and going from a small hole in the ground. Bumble Bee nests are also common within wood piles, under overturned pots, and within other yard debris.
  • The colony members are large, very hairy, and have sharply contrasting yellow/gold and black colors.
  • If you are stung by a Bumble Bee, the stinger is not left in your skin since the stinger is not barbed.
  • Usually, Bumble Bee nests can be humanely removed and moved to a less problematic location.

If you are a beekeeper and would like to be added to the NWDBA Swarm list, please do so by registering at:

NWDBA Swarm Call List