"Berks County is swimming in bees," says Bruce Rodriguez, a Berks County beekeeper.

Just in the past few weeks, Bruce has removed well over a dozen honeybee swarms in different parts of Berks County.


Credit: Bruce Rodriguez

"These swarms can be very dramatic when you see them for the first time, so I can understand people freaking out," he said. "But you really just need to stay calm, and then go Google 'bee removal near me,' and find someone to come safely remove them."


Bruce blogs about the honeybee swarm removals on his website.

And get this: Bruce does bee removal as a hobby. Yes, a hobby!


Bruce told 69 News that swarm calls never get old for him.

"My heart gets pumping like crazy, but pedal to the metal! I love doing this so much," he said.


He says it's not hard to remove a swarm.

"When they're just hanging on a tree or on a fence, it's actually pretty easy.  You just basically get your bee colony box and just shake them in."


Bruce expects to be doing more honeybee swarm shaking in the coming months.

"Any time from April until July is when they're extremely common.  After that, it's pretty rare," he said.


So, if we're seeing all these honeybee swarms, does that mean honeybees are doing okay?

Bruce explains, "Honeybees are not in trouble.  They're not scarce. There's plenty of them."

When you look at honeybees as a whole, honeybees have been able to survive the parasite that's been attacking their colonies over the past few decades.


While some people will use pesticides to prevent the spread of this parasite, Bruce is a big proponent of letting nature take its course.


"I do not address mites at all.  I allow them to basically thin out the herd.  Then, there's just bees left that can tolerate the mite and live despite the mite."


This will lead to a new generation of bees that's more tolerant to the parasite mite.

While honeybees are doing okay overall, that's not the case for native bees.

"We have native bees that are definitely in trouble.  Their populations are not doing well," he said.


Credit: Kay Yost

Habitat destruction and lawn care chemicals have really hurt the populations of native bees.

But you can help -- plant native flowers in your garden.


69 News recently did a story on native flowers and trees that are great for your yard

Native plants help our native pollinators like bees.

If you want to learn more about bees, check out the social media pages of the Berks and Schuylkill County Beekeepers or the Lehigh Valley Beekeepers Associations.

You can also listen to Bruce's bee podcast.