Swarm Collection

Free Honey Bee Swarm Collection Service

I am unlikely to be available for swarm collection throughout 2015, so please visit the following websites to find someone local:

If you are around Swindon, Marlborough, Salisbury etc visit the local Wiltshire Beekeeping Association website, or if you’re further afield, there is a National swarm collectors list here.

Please Note: If your bees are in a normal sized bird box they are most likely Bumblebees which I am unable to move. Please visit this page for help identifying them and organisations who may be able to help. I am also unable to remove bees if they are inside your property, my insurance just doesn’t cover me for it, if however your bees look anything like the pictures, I can probably help.

Safety Firstswarm of honeybees - nest of bees

You may hear people say that a swarm of honeybees is not aggressive, this to a large extent is true, but remember, the swarm will contain several thousand, or likely tens of thousands of bees, all equipped with a sting which they are prepared to use if they feel threatened either as a colony or individually. If you see a swarm, please keep children, pets and yourself a safe distance from it just in case.

Identifying a Swarm of Honeybees

When you see a swarm of bees in the garden they will be either swirling in the air, or hanging in a beard type shape, probably in a tree or on a fence, but it can be almost anywhere, they have been seen on buildings and cars amongst other unusual and difficult to reach places, making life rather interesting for swarm collectors. A colony, or whats commonly called a bees nest is when they have made it a permanent home, these are more tricky to get rid of without harming them and it’s not something I’m insured to do.

  1. bees on bench and fenceSwirling in the air – If What you have seen is literally thousands, or possibly tens of thousands of bees swirling around in the air (they probably all settled somewhere quite quickly) they are honeybees. No other insects are of a similar size and swarm quite like the honeybee does.
  2. A settled mass of bees – Before the swarm finds a permanent new home it will settle somewhere, often in a tree, but it can be almost anywhere, they usually hang in a long beard type shape. From here some of the workers will fly out and look for a new location for their new home, then come back and eventually the whole swarm will up and move to the new location, but beware as they like dark dry places, so a crack in the chimney, or at the end of the eaves can look like a great place to them, once they move in somewhere like this, removal becomes much more difficult, sometimes impossible.

If you do happen to see one of the honeybees close up, it will be almost 2cm in length and a similar shape to a wasp, with a striped abdomen, the colours can vary from almost black to much lighter orange, almost beige stripes, they are slightly hairy too, but you would have to be very close to notice that.

Similar Flying Insects

Wasps, Hornets and any one of the other 250 species of bees which live in the UK can look fairly similar to the Honeybee from a distance, however although Wasps, Hornets and Bumble Bees all live in colonies none of them swarm and all other bees are solitary, so therefore don’t live in colonies at all (although they can live in very close proximity to each other). There is an online tool for helping to identify Bumblebees on the Bumblebee Conservation Trusts website.  Please note that I am unable to help with Bumbles, Wasps or Hornets. For Bumblebees see this page for alternate contacts and organisations, or you will need a pest control company for Wasps or Hornets.

What Swarm Collectors do

As long as the queen is in the box or Skep used, the workers will follow, some standing at the entrance with their abdomen in the air, buzzing their wings, this is to waft pheromones outwards, so any other bees from the swarm who were flying when they were moved can find them in the new location.

Honeybees in National HiveWhat do we do with the Bees?

Once the honey bee removal is complete and they are secured in a box or skep, it is taken away from the area and placed in a hive, assuming the queen is there they will usually start drawing out honeycombs and the queen will begin to lay eggs, as soon as this happens we know they are well and truly settled. They are then monitored for disease and parasites and treated accordingly, if required.

Why not just leave them where they are ?

If left alone they will usually fly away again, sometimes in hours, other times days, but usually to a permanent home fairly close by, when they are in a swarm they are usually relatively easy to access, however when they set up permanent residence it can be much harder to have them removed. A favourite location is in a chimney stack or a crack in a wall which leads to a cavity on the inside, this makes a honeybee swarm collectors task very tricky. The entrance could be close to a populated area, so it’s best to not give them the chance to become a more permanent problem.

bees on roof

bees on the pitch of a roof

Wild colonies (and swarms) of honeybees are affected by the Varroa mites too, so often a wild swarm, if not treated by a beekeeper and possibly also fed for their first winter, may not survive. By spotting a swarm and calling me or any other beekeeper to collect it, you are actually helping the UK’s declining honeybee population.

Pest Control

I do not specialise in pest control and I will not kill the bees for you, if you have a wasps nest which needs removing it’s best to call a professional pest control company or see this information from the local council, as they will have the suitable equipment and insurances to deal with wasp removal, (honey bee swarm removal requires different equipment to catch as opposed to killing them).

If you are thinking “I have a swarm of honeybees, a nest of bees, a swarm of bees, a bees nest” or anything else you might call them please do get in touch, I would be more than happy to have a chat and remove the problem for you.

Honey Bee Swarm collection in Marlborough, Calne, Devizes, Wootton Bassett, Pewsey and throughout the local areas. I am usually available weekdays and weekends for bee removal please get in touch through the contact form.

For contacts in Swindon, Salisbury, Melksham and West Wiltshire click here.

Or if you are outside of Wiltshire, please see this list of swarm collectors for any other areas around the UK.

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