Joe Lenho collecting honey bee swarm May 2009 Essex Fells Police Station

Joseph G. Lelinho, beekeeper and owner of Hilltop Honey in North Caldwell, sweeps a beehive which was found in front of the Essex Fells Police Station into a collecting frame.

Community Newspaper

Things were a-buzz at Essex Fells police.

Published May 15th, 2009 at 4:50 AM

ESSEX FELLS – The Police Department discovered a swarm of honeybees Thursday, May 7, for the second year in a row in front of police headquarters on Roseland Avenue, said Lt. Robert Kalosy.

Joseph G. Lelinho, beekeeper and owner of Hilltop Honey of North Caldwell, was called and agreed to remove the hive, police said.

Last year there were about 10,000 honeybees and this year there were a total of about 18,000, Lelinho said, adding the swarm was not dangerous because the bees “drink all their honey when they leave the originating hive; with that, they build wax, which builds a city and the queen will lay eggs and a new hive will begin. When the bees’ stomachs are full, they become docile and can’t sting.”

The swarm is a typical honeybee behavior and occurs when the bees outgrow their current home, he explained.

In order to safely remove the hive, Lelinho swept the bees into a small hive box. The other bees know to follow, because the ones that are already in the box send off a “come hither” scent by turning their bottoms up in the air, making use of the nasarov gland, which indicates to the stragglers, that this is their new home.

Another approach is to try to sweep the queen to the frame and place her into the hive, because the remaining bees will follow her scent.

The queen collected by Lelinho on Thursday was killed in transport leaving the swarm without a queen, but fortunately a second swarm was discovered at headquarters the next day, Friday, May 8.

Lelinho collected the second swarm which also had a queen that was safely transported and accepted by Thursday’s and Friday’s bees as their queen.

The combined hive is now at Hilltop Honey and the bees are quite happy living in a managed colony, Lelinho said.

Lelinho said the police did the right thing calling him. “People who don’t know any better will kill the bees,” he said. “But it is illegal to kill a honeybee colony.”

For information on bee safety, contact Joseph Lelinho at (973) 403-8662.