I have a swarm in my garden / property. What should I do?
Before contacting us, please be sure that you are dealing with a swarm of bees and not wasps or bumble bees. For wasps you should contact a pest controller and bumble bees should not be moved for conservation reasons.
Bees swarm to reproduce. A thriving colony will swarm any time from mid-Spring to summer: the old queen leaves with up to half of the worker bees to find a new home, leaving behind a newly hatched queen and the rest of the original colony. Beekeepers manage their colonies to avoid swarming, but they cannot always be successful – the bees have minds of their own.
A swarm of honeybees will usually hang from a branch, wall or fence post and from a distance does not appear very active. But as you get closer, you will see the bees going to and from the swarm as they plan their final move to a new home.
Once you are sure you are dealing with a swarm of honeybees, you should leave the bees alone and contact our swarm co-ordinator, Robert Dudgeon on 01732 864486, or the nearest contact from the BBKA website if Robert is not available.
Before you call, it would help if you can gather some relevant information:
- What it is that you believe to be a swarm
- Its current behaviour (flying, clustered etc.)
- Where and on what it has settled
- Approximate size and shape of cluster
- When it was first noticed
- Best estimate of height above ground level
- Ease or difficulty of access and precise address/location details.
But it is certainly advisable for you to contact us as soon as you can, so we can help re-house the colony to avoid it settling somewhere that it isn’t wanted, such as in the hollow of an outbuilding or in someone’s chimney.
You should not be concerned about the swarm, unless you know you have an allergy to bee stings. Despite the initial noise and buzzing, bees that are swarming are very unlikely to sting unless threatened. They are too busy looking after their queen and finding a new home. The best thing is to leave them alone and contact us!