Many people consider swarms of bees to be a sign of good fortune – but beekeepers appreciate that it’s not everyone who wants to share their house or garden with bees. If they are honey bees, beekeepers can usually find a good home for them! Swarming bees may sound and look frightening but they are at their most harmless because they have very little to defend and are away from their hive. It is a natural way for honey bees to expand and find new homes. Many swarms will settle on a branch at first forming a ball anywhere from the size of an orange to a rugby ball. Not all the places they choose are as easy to get to as the picture below. Often they are only with you for a few hours whilst they find a new home and fly off.
- Leave them to settle down and keep a sensible distance.
- Don’t try to deal with the bees yourself.
- Call a Beekeeper: click here for the current local volunteer list.
Harrow Beekeepers’ Association operates a swarm collection service – we do not make a charge (although a donation to our funds is always welcome !). Tell the beekeeper as much as you can. You will be asked questions that help the beekeeper to decide what it’s best to do and whether you have honey bees or some other insect such as bumble bees or wasps. Please remember many beekeepers have full time jobs and families and may not be able to come straight away. We may not be able to help if your bees are inaccessible or turn out not to be honey bees. If you are in Middlesex or surrounding areas then we may be able to help.
Outside the Middlesex area your local council (environmental health) or police station may have a list of local beekeepers.
You can search nationally for a swarm collector on the British Beekeepers Association website.