Who to contact?
If you see a swarm of honey bees please do not use any of the contact details on this website as this will delay the process of dealing with them. You can find out more about swarms and how to find your nearest swarm collector by going to the BBKA’s website: https://www.bbka.org.uk/swarm
A swarm of bees out in the open like this will not harm anyone and the bees are in no mood to sting provided they are left undisturbed. A swarm is just a temporary resting place while the ‘scout bees’ find a suitable new home to move into. This can take anything from a few hours to a couple of days. Once a desirable living space has been found, the entire swarm will fly off together making a beeline towards their new home.
So any swarm will disappear of its own accord if left in peace for long enough. Unfortunately only a small proportion of swarms survive their first winter and the new home they chose could be someone’s chimney or cavity wall. This is why it is a good idea to ask a local beekeeper to see if they can capture the swarm and house it in a beehive.
Once the weather is warm enough, a lot of bee swarms appear at the same time. This means that volunteer swarm-collectors are often very busy people during the few weeks of the swarming season. Before contacting a local beekeeper, please check they really are honey bees before you call by looking at: Are They Honey Bees?
The Swarm Collection Process:
A beekeeper will be able to help you on the following basis:
- The occupier of the property gives permission to enter and recover the swarm
- The beekeeper will take all reasonable precautions to avoid injury or damage to persons and/or property
- The beekeeper will keep the householder informed of what will happen
- We are unable to remove established bee colonies in buildings, chimneys or structures, at heights and inaccessible locations that pose a safety risk to our members
- The bees will become the property of the beekeeper when taken and secured
- The beekeeper may seek fuel costs and any other reasonable expenses incurred
Bees that have Already Taken Up Residence Where They Are Not Wanted:
Once bees have moved into a building it can be very difficult to shift them. A beekeeper will do what they can but as explained will not put themselves, other people or property at risk to dislodge them. If the presence of the bees cannot be tolerated, this then becomes a pest-control problem. You will need to contact your local council or a pest-removal firm who will charge you for their service. Note that many pest controllers will not deal with honey bees until after a beekeeper has first been given the opportunity to remove them.
Finding a Local Swarm Collector:
Some of our L&DBKA members are available to collect swarms of bees – here is a link to the BBKA swarm collectors map for 2022 where you can enter your post code and find details of the nearest swarm collectors: BBKA Swarm Collectors