A honeybee colony swarming is a natural process. It's the colony reproducing by the old queen leaving with some of the bees. They leave their hive and find somewhere to hang in a cluster until the scout bees decide on their new home.

If you think you've got a swarm please use our Swarm Collector map to find a local beekeeper to come and remove the honeybees.

The photos below have been shared by our members to show you some of the beautiful examples of swarms that you might see.


Sometimes the swarm really stands out! 

And sometimes not! 

This swarm (photos by Joe Smith from Darlington) was almost hidden

Swarms have less to land on in towns!
This is not a normal bin collection!
Here's a swarm on a bin being collected! 



Sometimes they land on a wall

Or a gate post

Or on a bridge


Sometimes they're huge! This photo from a member of NSBKA was he biggest swarm (and the easiest to collect) that the experienced beekeeper called on has ever seen


Photo Thanks to Gareth Morgan, Anne Rowberry, Diane Drinkwater and Joe Smith From Darlington.

Beekeepers response to swarm calls

  • Most swarms often occur on warm Sunny days in May to the end of July, between 11am – 4pm
  • Often there is a peak on a fine day after poor weather when temperatures approach high teens.
  • A real honey bee swarm can be dramatic involving many thousands of bees in a large noisy cloud, however they normally settle into a cluster within 15 minutes.
  • Expect to be asked for a photo if you ring a beekeeper. 

The beekeeper will ask you questions about where the swarm is, how long it has been there.

A few questions you are likely to be asked:

  • Describe what you have seen or ideally send a picture.
  • Size of cluster/how many (e.g. football size etc.)?
    • Honey bee swarms are thousands not a dozen
  • Location/access/parking (indoors, outdoors, chimney, etc)?
  • Height (e.g. 1st floor, roof top)?
  • How long have they been there?
  • Have you called anyone else?
  • Address/location/directions/parking including postcode?
  • Contact number?
  • Please call the beekeeper back if the swarm leaves
  • Do not give multiple beekeepers the details once one has agreed to attend.

Things to know

  • Collecting a swarm is normally a 2 part process...
    • Part one – to get the bees into a box.
    • Part two - to return in the evening to remove bees and box.
  • Some beekeepers may ask for expenses.
  • If on arrival we find that it is not honey bees we are unlikely to be able to help.
  • Most honey bee swarms are not aggressive but please do keep away.
  • Honey bee swarming is natural and the bees are just looking for a new home.
  • Bumblebees are best left alone.
    • They are valuable pollinators, some are endangered.
    • Please don’t use chemicals or other products on them.
    • Don’t try to block entrance hole as they will try to find another way out possibly into the property.
    • They will die out naturally in late summer/autumn.
      • Therefore the cost of a pest controller is easily avoided.
    • Wasps may require a pest controller if in a dangerous position. Wasps are also good pollinators and eat pests in your garden
      • Beekeepers don’t remove wasps
    • Swarm collection is done by volunteer beekeepers at their own discretion.

 

Some information about honeybee swarms and swarm collection...

Swarming bees usually don’t sting but it is wise to stay away from the swarm and keep children & pets indoors

Beekeepers collect swarms on a voluntary basis; they are NOT paid to provide this service.

The beekeeper may not be able to come immediately; they have jobs and commitments of their own.

 

Beekeepers have to consider their own safety; it may not be possible to remove a swarm from difficult-to-reach places. Currently beekeepers are social distancing and need to ensure their own safety at all times.

 

Please call the beekeeper again to let them know if the swarm flies off or is collected by someone else.