What to do if a honey bee swarm lands on your property

Do not disturb it.
Keep pedestrians, children and pets away from the swarm cluster.

The following are NOT honey bees. WE CANNOT KILL, MOVE OR HELP YOU WITH ANY OF THESE AS THEY ARE NOT HONEYBEES

Click on the images below to get more information on their features, behaviour, life cycle so that you can identify them.

Wasp
Bumble Bee
Hornet
Solitary Bee
Wasps
Bumble Bee
Hornet
Miner Bee
Usually nests in lofts sheds, roof gaps, wall cavities and compost heaps.
Usually nests in compost heaps, garden debris or under sheds. Round and furry body. Harmless if left undisturbed.
Usually nests in stables, sheds, roof gaps and wall cavities. Harmless if left undisturbed.
A tiny harmless creature. Often found nesting in the ground or walls dependent on species - there are over 200

If you require more information on wasp control and its treatment, please contact a Pest Control Company or visit the Barnet Council web site or call their pest control enforcment team on 020 8359 7995.

IF YOUR BEES AND SWARM LOOKS LIKE THE PHOTOS BELOW THEN WE CAN HELP YOU, BECAUSE YOU HAVE A SWARM OF HONEYBEES

Honey Bee
Swarm in tree
Swarm on Wall
Honey Bee
Swarm
Swarm on Wall

To save time and avoid disappointment please first take some simple steps to positively identify that they are honey bees, by following this link to the British Bee Keepers web site and follow identification steps 1 to 5. Once you are sure they are honey bees please contact your nearest Swarm Collector as listed on the British Beekeepers Web Site leaving a contact telephone number, your email address and as much detail on the swarm e.g. size, location, activity etc.

Charges

If the Honeybees are an established colony or in a difficult location such as a chimney or has occupied the interior of a building, like a cavity wall, under floor space etc. then BDBKA cannot carry out the work to remove them as we are not insured for this. However we do have a list of independent beekeepers that we can put you in touch with who can provide a removal service of an established honeybee colony for a fee.

If the bees are in an open area where access is relatively straightforward e.g. a medium height branch on a tree, under garden furniture or on the exterior of a building one of our swarm collectors will be happy to remove them and try to re-home them. Neither the swarm collector nor Barnet and District Beekeepers Association (BDBKA) makes a charge for this service. All of our swarm collectors are amateur beekeepers who collect swarms in their spare time. They purchase and maintain all of their swarm collecting equipment themselves. If you would like to make a donation towards the swarm collector’s travel costs it will be greatly appreciated.

Why Bees Swarm

Swarming is the way honey bees procreate. However they may also swarm for other reasons, for example because the colony has outgrown its hive or there is sickness or disturbance in the hive that they want to escape from.

Swarming usually occurs between April and September, but it is not unknown for swarms to appear earlier when the weather is unseasonably warm. About 10 days before the swarm emerges from the hive the queen lays eggs in special wax cells called queen cells, that the worker bees have prepared. These eggs will later develop into new queens. It takes eight days for the newly laid egg to develop into a larva and for the larva to be sealed with a wax cap in its cell. This larva will then develop into a queen bee.

Once the first wax queen cell is sealed, the reigning queen and approximately half the worker bees leave the hive in search of a new home. This ball of bees is a swarm. Since they do not yet know where they will finish up they will frequently rest somewhere, perhaps on the side of your house or on a tree in your garden, while scouts try to find a suitable place for the colony to settle.

Swarms are normally benign if left undisturbed. Nevertheless, it is better not to take any chances, and we do advise closing all windows and doors, and generally keeping a safe distance until the swarm can be collected. The average swarm contains roughly 30,000 bees and is about the size or volume of a football. The swarm can remain in one spot for several days, but it is not uncommon for swarms to move sites.

If bees are forced to remain in one spot for longer than 24 hours they may start to produce wax comb. This is a precautionary measure just in case the scouts fail to find a new location. It is therefore important to collect them as soon as possible, before they start to establish themselves, if they have fetched up in an inconvenient spot.