Beehives in the trees, in the caissons of the shutters and in the cavities of the walls. Experts: “I’m not a real threat”
Genoa – From two to five phone calls a day: in recent weeks, the switchboards of the firefighters and beekeeping companies receive daily calls from citizens alarmed by the presence of swarms of bees in the garden, on the street or, even worse, inside the house. At first they come in two or three, a small group of female explorers. Then, suddenly, the buzz gets louder and a real ball of bees comes to rest in the chosen place, generally trees, shutter boxes or cavities in the walls. Swarming season is back: the new queen is preparing to be born in the hives and the old one, after having reproduced, sets out in search of a new home.
“It happens every year but this year the phenomenon is stronger than usual – explains Laura Capini, president of Alpamiele Liguria – The period has lengthened compared to the past: normally the bees calm down with the flowering of the acacia, because they start to think to the harvest, but this year, due to a frost in early April, the acacia, despite being in bloom, did not produce nectar“. “The growing number of beekeepers also plays a role, which in a short time has tripled – adds Marco Corzetto, president of ApiGenova – Our association has grown from 70 to 150 members in two years but many are still inexperienced, the best know how avoid them “.
Bees know no obstacles: swarms have been recovered on the facade of the Bank of Italy in via Dante, on some tombstones in the Staglieno cemetery and under a crane in Porto Petroli, with the nest built flush with the water. The phenomenon lasts a few weeks and then almost suddenly ceases, the key thing to know is that bees are not dangerous during swarming because when they leave the old hive they are filled with honey and it is really difficult for them to sting in these conditions. Of course, being near the windows a humming cloud can worry but the advice of the firefighters is to isolate the swarming point by closing the room and windows and calling the firefighters themselves (but they do not intervene directly unless there are dangerous conditions) or to beekeeper associations (Alpamiele 347.697.5960, ApiGenova 010.50.91.63 or 338.951.40.93).
The intervention is free, unless it is particularly complicated: “Generally you work with a vacuum cleaner, a kind of vacuum cleaner with which you suck the bees without harming them – explains Laura Capini – or you cut the branch on which they are placed and placed on a box with the frames ready, hoping that the smell of the wax will stop them. About twenty minutes and the problem is solved ”. But it is not always so easy: “Swarming takes place in two phases: first the group attaches itself to a wall or a tree, then the explorers leave and finally when they find their final home, the swarm builds the new nest – explains Marco Corzetto – If we are called only at the end of the process to intervene is more complicated because the bees may already be inside the cavities of the facades or in the vents of the calderine: at that point to remove them you have to demolish the wall, working together with plumbers or masons and perhaps using ladders. It is clear that an intervention like this has costs but doing nothing is even worse: once a condominium decided to brick the bees, thinking of saving the cost of the call, without imagining that instead in two months they went from 20 thousand to 60 thousand units and found another way out to swarm again, and in the end there were three families inside the facade. We advise not to wait, hoping that they will go away by themselves, it is difficult for that to happen ”.
However, it is good to remember that bees are protected and cannot be killed: “Fortunately, awareness of their importance has increased – says Laura Capini – Often citizens when they call us specify that they do not want to poison them. because they know they are critical to the ecosystem“. “The other day a lady entered my office carrying a drone, the male of the bee, wrapped in a handkerchief – adds Corzetto – and asking what to do to save it. Another time, however, we intervened in a house in the countryside where the owner had even started to warm the swarm suffering from the cold. After all, as Einstein said, if bees disappeared from the face of the earth, man would only have four years of life left ”.