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est. 1954 – beekeeping enthusiasts offering advice, courses and membership.

Advice on Swarms

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Don’t panic.
Do NOT attempt to deal with the bees yourself.

Do not disturb them.
Keep your windows closed and watch from inside.

ARE YOU ARE SURE THEY ARE HONEYBEES?
Check our Bee and other Insects page if you are not sure

Are they about 1/2 inch in size and mostly brown?

THESE ARE  HONEYBEES


THIS IS A SWARM


There may be a football size (or bigger) mass of bees hanging on a branch in a bush/ tree/ clinging to a fence post/ under the eaves/ in an attic. They can land anywhere!  Are there 20 or more seen at any one time flying in and out of a small hole?

We get many calls to remove honeybee swarms but often they are not! A swarm of honeybees will contain many thousands of bees.

Wasps, bumblebees and solitary bees do not swarm.
Study the photographs on our other bees and insects page. If you spot some of these then there will be a nest nearby. Wasps can be dealt with by a pest control company.  Bumblebees and solitary bees are best left alone to live out their short lives.

Honeybees and bumblebees are protected species.
A swarm is unlikely to be a threat to people but it is important to prevent them from setting up a new home in an unsuitable location, such as a shed or attic where they might come into conflict with people and pets.

We will ask you some questions to make sure we can identify your bees.  We also need to know where the swarm has settled to see how accessible it is.  If we don’t think they are honeybees we can offer advice as to what to do.

If you are local to us then we will put you in touch with one of our experienced beekeepers who can remove the swarm safely and find a new home for the bees. Your local Council (Environmental Health), Police Station or Library should also have a list of beekeepers that will collect swarms.

Our Swarm Collectors

Dave Norris           01895 253525

Jonathon Norris     01895 832075

Mike Ryan              01895 464108

Tony Smith             01895 638408

We do not make a charge for this (unless there is an excessive traveling cost involved); however,a donation to help our association would be gratefully received.  You may be asked to sign a disclaimer form but as with all small print, read it first!

Please remember many of us have full time jobs and families and may not be able to come straight away.

If the bees in your garden turn out not to be honeybees or are inaccessible, we may not be able to help but could advise you what to do.

What will the Beekeeper do?
It depends on the situation every one is different but essentially the bees will be persuaded to go into a suitable sized container as a temporary home. The container might be a wooden or cardboard box or even a traditional straw skep. The bees won’t mind too much as long as they are with their Queen. The container may be left until the evening so that all the flying bees have time to get in the box. The beekeeper will then come back to take them to their new beehive.

Very easy swarm collection!

Not quite so easy!
Many of the bees were dropped into the box luckily with the queen.
Box placed on ground and rest of bees followed in.

Now this one is interesting!


We do sometimes get asked to collect a swarm from a chimney and we must admit that maybe only one member of our club would be crazy enough to put themselves in such danger! Caroline was, however, doing it for a friend of hers.
She spent many hours and tried many methods to tempt the bees into the hive which was roped precariously on the chimney. Needless to say she failed miserably and even had to replace some tiles which came loose when the hive somehow fell off! The bees are still there and, not to be beaten, Caroline says she will try again this year to remove the colony. Good luck Caroline!!

Caroline is at it again!

Swarms usually occur in the spring and early summer, as colonies divide. This is the bees’ natural process of reproduction which has been happening for millions of years, to both wild and apiary kept bees.

Swarming bees may sound and look frightening but they are generally in a holiday mood and are unlikely to be aggressive if left undisturbed. They are mostly harmless because they have no home to defend and are only intent on finding a new one. Once they have left their original home, they are vulnerable to the weather and to predators, so they cluster around their Queen to keep warm, dry and safe. They have only the food that they carry in their stomachs.

The swarm will remain in its temporary position for a few hours, perhaps a couple of days, while scout bees go out to seek a suitable new permanent home then the swarm will fly off.

Swarms can buzz alarmingly, but this is usually just the noise that is made when the bee’s vibrate their wing muscles to keep warm. This cluster will usually find somewhere to hang, a branch, the eaves of a house, a fencepost or even a porch. It will be somewhere between the size of melon and a pumpkin.

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