Honey bee swarms

What do I do if I find a swarm

We are extremely busy in the spring and summer looking after our own bees and are unable to collect swarms or respond to bee related questions.

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has lots of information and can help you to find a local swarm collector.

Swarming is the natural process of reproduction for honey bee colonies. In the first prime swarm, about half the bees leave the colony with the old queen, leaving a new queen developing at the original colony location.

She develops in a special queen cell which is far larger than worker bee cells, and it hangs down in the hive.

 

If you think you have found a honey bee swarm

Firstly - check that they are honey bees.

This BBKA "What bee is this" page is excellent.

There is often a lot of confusion with other types of bees and wasps.

In April bees seen on the ground or in banks are frequently a mining bee, often the Tawny Mining Bee.

In May/June a nest in the ground or shed could be a species of Bumblebee.

If you see bees in a bird nest box, then it is almost certainly a Tree Bumblebee nest

If you find a bumblebee or solitary bee nest: it is best to leave it alone and avoid disturbing it.

We have many types of bumble and solitary bee nesting in our garden, and feel we are privileged to be hosting bees which are so important to a thriving ecosystem; as 80% of European wildflowers require insect pollination.

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Honey bees often swarm on to a tree branch

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Collecting a swarm in a traditional skep

Collecting a drenched swarm from a playing field in Brightwell cum Sotwell. Produced by Becky Moll.