Swarming usually occurs in late spring and summer when the queen leaves the hive or nest with all the the adult flying bees leaving behind enough young bees, larvae, eggs and prepared queen cells to keep the colony going. This is the natural way in which honey bees increase their numbers.
A swarm will travel to a new location and may land on trees, bushes, walls, posts or anything convenient to wait while the scouts find a new permanent home. A swarm can be an unwelcome guest when this happens.
Note: The first thing to do if you suspect you have a swarm is to find out if they are honeybees or something else! To find out, see our Beedentify tool.
We can only help with honey bees, not with other insects such as wasps or bumble bees
Dealing with Swarms
Swarms are large, noisy balls of bees, and on first sight can seem quite frightening! However, swarms are generally peaceful, and provided they are not disturbed, will generally ignore the presence of people until they settle in a new permanent home, when they will resume guard duties.
If you encounter a swarm, you should take the following steps:
- Keep any people, children and pets or other animals away from the swarm.
- If possible, alert passers-by to the presence of the swarm so that they don't accidentally disturb it.
- Don't do anything to provoke or disturb the swarm to try to get it to move on. The swarm will only move when it is ready to do so, and interference might result in stings!
- If you need to move around near the swarm, do so in a calm, controlled manner, avoiding making any sudden movements or loud noises.
If you have a swarm, you can contact us by calling 07906 076873 - please ONLY use this number for swarms of bees, where speed of contact is important. Telephone messages left about bee issues other than swarms may not be responded to due to the high volume of swarm calls we often deal with.
For issues with honey bees other than swarms, where time is less critical, please use our Contact Form, leaving your name, address and telephone number, as well as giving us as much information as you can about the location and accessibility of the bees.
When you contact us we will try to find a beekeeper local to you, who can in the first instance speak to you and advise on how to deal with the swarm, and where possible arrange to visit you to collect the swarm.