Swarms of honey bees

Please note: We do not treat for bees nests

Why do bees swarm?

Honey bees swarm because they are looking for a new site to form a new colony. It is a natural and positive means of population increase.

What is a swarm?

Each swarm contains a queen bee and around 20,000 worker bees

Wasps and bumblebees don't swarm, so if you see a swarm it will be made up of honey bees.

How do I tell if it is a swarm?

The British Beekeepers Association website has pictures and information to help you determine if what you have seen is a swarm of honey bees or some other type of insect.

You should contact a beekeeper as soon as possible on sighting the swarm - details of your nearest volunteer swarm collector can be found on the British Beekeepers Association website.

When do bees swarm?

The swarming season is from April to July, but the peak is from early May to Mid June.

Keep calm and carry on!

Swarms are not dangerous unless disturbed or aggravated (for example if sprayed with water). Left alone, swarms are harmless.

Because they only rarely survive in the wild, honey bee swarms need to be captured by trained personnel/beekeepers and placed in beehives where they can form a new productive colony. This needs to be done as soon as possible because once the swarm takes up residence it may be difficult to remove them safely, for example if they choose a chimney or other inaccessible place in a building.

Your volunteer local swarm coordinator can be found on the British Beekeepers Association website.

Alternatively, contact us or a police station who can also offer advice.

How to help honey bees

Beekeepers are essential to maintaining a healthy UK bee population, but beekeeping is not for everyone. The British Beekeepers Association has set up a scheme called Adopt A Beehive. Members of the public make an annual donation of £30 to the scheme which supports research and education into beekeeping and bee health. Supporters receive a welcome pack, a quarterly newsletter and regular updates from the regional beehive they have adopted.

Contact details

Environmental Health
Britannia House
Bradford
BD1 1HX

Phone : 01274 433926

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