Swarms - for members of the public
A swarm is the natural mechanism that a honeybee colony uses to reproduce itself. When a colony is particularly prosperous, bursting with bees and honey (often between April and July), the old queen leaves the hive with around half of the bees in the colony, and tries to find a suitable place to make a new home. The old colony will usually produce a new queen, and continue to occupy its old site. The swarm will often settle temporarily, for a few hours to a day or two, while bees scout out a new permanent home.
If the swarm is easily accessible, a beekeeper can put it in a box and take it away to a suitable new home in a hive - possibly his own, or new members of the Association are often looking to get going with a swarm caught in this way.
To find a beekeeper local to you who is able to collect a swarm of honey bees, you can use the British Beekeepers Association website, here. This will help you confirm whether or not the bees are honey bees, and if so, you can then enter your postcode to find a list of swarm collectors nearby. If you have any difficulty, our swarm coordinator Robert Whittick on 07810 684626 may be able to help.
If bees have settled in an inaccessible place, such as a cavity wall, chimney or inaccessible part of the roof space, most beekeepers will not be able to help. If bees have colonised an inaccessible place and you would like to have them removed, we suggest you contact a specialist who will be able to provide a quote. Again, Robert Whittick 07810 684626, or Cedarpest, based in Romsey, tel. 01794 323645, may be able to help.
Bumblebees only set up seasonal nests, and ideally they should be left alone for the short period that they are active.