Bee keeper stays busy with Portland swarms, uses 'bee vacuum'

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A local bee keeper told KATU News he has received dozens of calls this week about bee swarms in Portland.

A woman in Southeast Portland contacted KATU about a giant swarm of bees on the ground on her street Tuesday evening. She later told KATU's Mary Loos, she was worried the swarm may have been sprayed with an insecticide since they were on the ground.

Bee "wrangler" Brian Lacy says the warm weather Monday drew the bees out in search of a new place to colonize.

"Sometimes bees will land in the most unusual places, including the ground. So it may be that this is going to be a viable swarm," he says.

Lacy uses a vacuum-type device to suck up the bees and transfer them to hives around the region. The goal is to put them to work as pollinators in our region.

Since spring is prime swarm season, Lacy and other beekeepers like him are getting about 4 to 5 calls about swarms a day. They are the best people to call because they will relocate and not destroy the swarm.

Lacy is just starting a bee education campaign to help raise awareness of the need for these pollinators to help grow our food.

"If people would pull up grass and plant gardens, either for bees or themselves," says Lacy, "and then use a low toxin more organic gardening concept, there's a lot of stuff that bees produce, that neighbors could then share with each other."

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