Have a bee swarm? Steamboat-area beekeeper wants to give it a good home | VailDaily.com

Have a bee swarm? Steamboat-area beekeeper wants to give it a good home

Scott Franz
Steamboat Today

Photo courtesy of Christy Truly South Routt County beekeeper David Truly inspects his bee hives in the summer of 2015.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Some Steamboat Springs residents turn to social media in the spring to search for cheap bikes, tires and other household items that residents are pawning off.

David Truly is turning to social media hoping to score something a little more unique — a swarm of bees.

The South Routt County beekeeper is on the hunt for swarms for which he can provide a better home. Some residents, he fears, will wrongfully grab a bottle of Raid and try to kill these bee swarms instead of placing a call that might save them.

And at a time when bees and other important pollinating insects are seeing their numbers decline, Truly thinks every swarm is important.

"You don't have to kill them," Truly said. "They're gentle and harmless. They're just looking for a home."

It's this time of year that some bees leave an overcrowded hive and search for a new home to set up a colony. According to the Colorado State Beekeper's Association, the swarm of bees are generally "quite docile."

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The swarming bees will cover logs, tree branches and sometimes even car mirrors while scout bees search for a more suitable home. Unfortunately, that more suitable home sometimes becomes a homeowner's attic or another place that makes humans feel uncomfortable.

That's where a local beekeeper can help by stepping in and relocating a swarm to a suitable hive.

Homeowners who find a swarm should keep their distance. They are encouraged to call either the state's new bee swarm hotline, 844-SPY-BEES, and then press 700, or the Routt County Extension Office at 970-879-0825.

Truly is also taking bee swarm referrals himself at 970-846-2830, but he acknowledged Tuesday he doesn't want to hog them all from other beekeepers.

Callers should do their best to identify the swarm, as the Extension Office sometimes receives calls for swarms that actually end up to be wasps.

Truly said he was happy to see a Facebook post encouraging people to help save bee swarms was eventually "liked" by more than 250 people.

"I was blown away," he said.

Last year, Truly was able to help a Hayden woman relocate two separate bee swarms that had taken up temporary residence on her pine tree. Truly, equipped with a bee suit, a ladder and some tree pruners, arrived and was able to carefully dislodge the branch and take the bee swarm home in a box. The bees were then relocated to a hive.

Truly estimates the number of beekeepers in Routt County has grown to more than 50 in recent years. This is Truly's fifth season as a beekeeper.

"The more I learn about bees, the more I'm fascinated by them and the more I want to learn," he said. "They're wild. They're crazy."

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@steamboattoday.com or follow him on Twitter @scottfranz10.