A swarm is the only way that a honeybee colony can reproduce itself. When a colony is particularly prosperous, bursting with bees and honey (often between May and July), the old queen leaves the hive with around half of the worker bees and attendant drones to found a new colony elsewhere in the neighbourhood. She leaves behind in the old nest, several developing princesses that will emerge from their cells, fight for supremacy and eventually the surviving member will head the colony.
The bees are usually so intent on the process of swarming that they are particularly gentle and the swarm can be handled without protective clothing.
To an active beekeeper, a swarm is not worth any money, often being regarded as a potential source of disease and bees of unknown temperament, however we have several members who are prepared to collect swarms as a service to the community. If the swarm is difficult to access, there will normally be a charge of around £25.00 levied at the discretion of the beekeeper. If you spot an unwelcome swarm, please phone our swarm liaison officer who will be pleased to either collect himself, or refer you to another member who can offer assistance. Our swarm liaison officer is Robin Rimmer: 01722 711066 or 07824 886850.