Northants Bee Keepers Association

Northamptonshire Beekeepers' Association (NBKA) Registered Charity No. 295593

 

Northants Bee Keepers Association

Copyright © NBKA 2007-2013

Northants Bee Keepers Association
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE BEEKEEPERS’ ASSOCIATION

A member organisation representing beekeepers in the County of Northamptonshire

Swarms

A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.

SWARM OF BEES

If you are present when a swarm arrives, move quietly away - don't run or flap your arms - remove children and pets - go indoors. Contact a beekeeper - see 'Swarm Retrieval'.

As a colony of honeybees becomes more populous, overcrowding causes the colony to swarm - usually in May, June and July. The old queen and approximately half the colony leave to find a new home. A new Queen will eventually take over the parent colony. Beekeepers do not want to lose half their work force and take steps to prevent their colonies from swarming. However, the urge to swarm is strong - it is nature's way of propagating the species and increasing the chances of survival. Beekeepers have no control over feral colonies. Consequently, 20,000 honeybees may arrive in your garden and cluster on, for example, a tree branch. 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 a 'holiday mood'!

SWARM OF BEES?

DON’T PANIC!

GO INDOORS

‘PHONE THE SWARM CO-ORDINATOR WHO WILL ADVISE OR ARRANGE FOR COLLECTION