Honey bees swarm as a natural part of their reproductive process. They have outgrown their current home and are leaving with their queen to a new location. They leave behind a hive with a developing queen and some younger bees who will take over.
The beekeeper works hard to prevent and control swarming. After all, the beekeeper doesn’t want to lose bees. However, in spite of the best of efforts, some bees will still swarm. Although the sight and sound of a swarm of honey bees can cause alarm, they are too busy taking care of their precious queen to be interested in you. Caution is advised all the same, and you shouldn’t get too close.
What should you do?
The first step is to identify that they are honey bees. We receive many calls about swarms that turn out to not be honey bees after all.
Please download our bee identification guide here before getting in touch.
Does the swarm you see look like this?
If you are able to take a photograph and zoom in, the honey bee is small, varying in colour from golden brown to black.
So, you are fairly confident it is a swarm of honey bees. The next step is to get in touch with us. We will then pass your details to a beekeeper local to you who will arrive to collect the swarm.
If it is definitely not a swarm of honey bees, it may be a species of bumblebee, of which there are many. They are a joy to watch bumbling around the garden pollinating as they go. They rarely attack or sting and the best advice is to leave them alone, and they die out by the end of the summer. Visit The Bumble Bee Conservation Trust to find out more.