Some recently collected swarms (Click on image to view a larger version)
The Association offers a voluntary swarms retrieval service throughout the County
as a public service.
Should you be present when a swarm arrives, move quietly away –don’t run or flap
your arms- remove children and pets and go indoors.
As colonies of honeybees become more populous, overcrowding can cause a colony to
swarm – usually in May, June or July.
The old queen and approximately half of the colony leave to find a new home. A queen
will eventually take over the parent colony. Beekeepers do not want to lose half
their workforce and take steps to prevent their colonies from swarming. However,
the urge to swarm is strong – it is nature’s way of increasing the chances of survival.
Beekeepers have no control over feral colonies. Consequently, 20,000 honeybees may
arrive in your garden and cluster on a bush, shrub or tree. This is a swarm.
After flying around they will eventually settle and form a rugby ball shaped cluster.
They check that the queen is present and scout bees search for a suitable location
for a new home, usually the swarm moves to the selected new site within a few hours.
Although 20,000 bees flying around your garden can be alarming to a non-beekeeper,
the danger is not very great. Before the bees leave the parent colony they gorge
themselves with honey to provision their journey and in order to build comb. They
are “full up” and in “holiday mood”.
Do seek assistance as soon as possible. Once a swarm has gained access to a chimney
or vent, it is usually difficult to remove.
Beekeepers are not insured and would be foolish to risk life and limb or risk damage
REMEMBER swarm collectors are VOLUNTEERS, they may be at work or otherwise busy and
will not always be available to respond immediately. The service is to remove swarms
of honeybees from accessible places.
The beekeeper acts as an individual and not on behalf of the Association, a charge
may be made or a donation to the Association requested. In the latter case if you
are a taxpayer you can Gift Aid your donation.
To find a beekeeper near you click the button below.