Honey Bee Swarms:

  • Swarming is a natural process.  It is 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.
  • Most swarms occur on warm sunny days from May to the end of July usually between 11am – 4pm.
  • Often there is a peak on a fine day after poor weather when temperatures approach the high teens.
  • A real honey bee swarm can be extremely dramatic involving many thousands of bees in a large noisy cloud   However, they normally settle into a cluster within 15 minutes.

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

The beekeeper will ask you questions about the swarm:

  • 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 or so
  • Location/access (indoors, outdoors, chimney, etc)?
  • Height (e.g. 1st floor, roof top)?
  • How long have they been there?
  • Have you called anyone else?
  • Address/directions/parking including postcode?
  • Contact number?
  • Please inform the beekeeper if the swarm leaves before they arrive or if someone else collects it to save a wasted journey.
  • Do not give multiple beekeepers the details once one has agreed to attend.

Other useful information:

  • 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 the beekeeper finds that it is not honey bees then they are unlikely to be able to help.
  • Most honey bee swarms are not aggressive but please do keep away and leave them alone.
  • 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. Don’t try to block entrance holes 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.
  • Please don’t use chemicals or other products on them.
  • 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 carried out by volunteer beekeepers at their own discretion.
  • 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 may 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.

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 the biggest swarm (and the easiest to collect) that the experienced beekeeper called on had ever seen.

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