Swarms

COVID_19 Please note that whilst we are able to collect swarms during this outbreak (under DEFRA guidance), we will not attend any swarm within inhabited buildings, or where access to the swarm location passes through the inside of an inhabited building (e.g. back gardens where the only access is through the house). We are happy to advise wherever possible, especially as private outdoor space is so important to all of us now.

We will collect swarms from the SO31, PO14 and PO15 areas. We will also collect in parts of SO30, SO32 and PO17, south of the A334. Outside these areas, we may request a contribution to travel costs.
For local collectors outside these areas, please visit the British Beekeepers Swarm collectors database.

We are only insured to collect swarms of honey bees, as long as they are easily accessible. We are not insured to access chimneys, cavity walls or under rooftiles or dismantle property. There may be a small charge to cover expenses, depending on swarm location and distance from our apiary. Please compare your swarm with the images below before contacting us.

This swarm settled in a car park in Southampton

Honey bee
With brown and tan colours, a slightly hairy body, a settled swarm is often the size of a football, hanging from branches or fences and is usually very quiet. It may stay in place for anything between a few hours and a few days, whilst scout bees look for a permanent home for their queen. Their arrival is often seen as a black swirling cloud, a bit like a miniature starling murmuration. Swarms are not dangerous if left alone, but please contact us or visit the British Beekeepers Association Swarm removal page for a local collector as soon as possible after they have settled. Honey bees will not sting unless provoked, so stay calm, don’t wave your hands around and walk away slowly if you are at all scared. They’ll soon lose interest in you. Please don’t confuse a swarm with the honey bees favourite restaurant – they will congregate in hundreds on a flowering cotoneaster, but will soon disappear when they’ve had their fill.

Bumblebee
Usually black, tan, white or yellow stripes, fluffy and bulbous! Bumblebees have colonies of just a few hundred bees and die out naturally in the Autumn. They will only sting if they are threatened, so keep still and don’t wave your arms around and they’ll buzz off. Bumblebees do not swarm.
The nests are best left undisturbed if possible, as bumbles are essential pollinators for many plants and a valuable part of our ecosystem. For more information, see the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.

Wasp
Bright black and yellow stripes and appear smooth. Usually found in high summer around your BBQ or sweet foods. Wasps do not swarm. Wasps can retract their sting, so can sting many times. Wasp nests often look like papery footballs and can be found in roofs, hedges or holes in the ground. Contact a pest control company for nest removal.

Most of the swarms we collect join one of our apiaries, but we occasionally supply swarms to new beekeepers who have trained with us. Either way, we guarantee a good home to any swarms we collect.

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