Swarm Advice



Do you have a swarm of honey bees…..

 European Honey Bee European Honey Bee
Honey Bee Swarm Example of
Honey Bee Swarm
(Clustered)

Honey Bee Swarm

A swarm of bees will usually arrive as a “cloud of bees” with a loud buzzing and will settle “as a ball” on a tree, post or wall (see pictures of ‘clustered’ honey bees above). Once a swarm settles although there will be bees flying to and from the swarm they will generally remain as a ball for a number of hours.

Once honeybees have set up home, they are a colony and no longer a swarm.

This maybe in a cavity wall, chimney or eaves. It is highly unlikely that an established colony can be tempted to leave its new home, and the task is often beyond that of Kennet Beekeepers.

If it is possible to physically get into the space that the bees are occupying it MAY be possible to remove the comb and relocate the colony. If this is not possible, the bees will need to be destroyed. For this you will need a pest controller.

Sometimes people confuse wasps and bumble bees with honey bees. Please check the BBKA swarms help for further advice on the difference between honey bees, wasps and bumble bees.

Wasps

Members of Kennet beekeepers are unable to remove or destroy wasp’s nests. If you have a problem with wasps, we suggest you :

Members of the KBKA are not able to deal with wasps / wasp nests.

  Wasp
Example of
a wasp nest


Hornets

European Hornets are a native hornet.
It is Britain’s largest wasp species and is predominantly yellow-orange and brown in coloration. It nests in cavities in old trees and in outbuildings. Typical habitat is old mature woodland and wood pasture. The hornet is generally secretive and docile in habit.

  • Queen up to 35mm long, worker up to 30mm long
  • Legs brown at the end
  • Yellow abdomen marked with brown on the upper part, not banded
  • Head yellow from above, yellow from front
  • Yellow antennae
  • Thorax black with extensive brown marking
  • May be active at night

hornetabdomen

Asian Hornets are an invasive species.
Introduced to France in 2004 where it has spread rapidly.
In 2016 the first UK sighting was confirmed in Tetbury, Gloucestershire. A nest has since been located and destroyed.
Any further sightings need to be reported quickly (details below).

High possibility of introduction through, for example, soil associated with imported plants, cut flowers, fruit, garden items (furniture, plant pots), freight containers, or in/on untreated timber. The possibility that it could fly across the Channel has not been ruled out.

A highly aggressive predator of native insects. Poses a significant threat to honey bees and other pollinators.

What to look out for:

  • Vespa velutina queens are up to 3 cm in length; workers up to 25 mm (slightly smaller than the native European hornet, Vespa crabro)
  • Entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band
  • Only one band on the abdomen: 4th abdominal segment almost entirely yellow/orange
  • Legs brown with yellow ends
  • Head black with an orange-yellow face
  • Vespa velutina is a day flying species which, unlike the European hornet, ceases activity at dusk

Photos for identification can be found at: www.nonnativespecies.org

If you think you have seen an Asian Hornet, please try to take a picture and email it with details of where you saw it and your contact information to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk

Keep an eye on bee press for latest updates, including National Bee Unit

Members of the KBKA are not able to deal with hornets / hornet nests.

European hornet
(Vespa crabro)
Asian Hornet
(Vespa velutina)
**If seen, please try to take a
picture and email it with details
of where you saw it and your
contact information
to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk**
asianhorn1

asianhorn2


Bumblebees

There are more than 30 types of British bumblebees. Although able to sting, they are generally harmless unless they feel threatened. Their nests generally do not contain large numbers of bees (unlike wasps or honey bees). If you have a bumblebee nest in your garden or house, unless it is somewhere that conflicts with children or pets, with British bumble bees in decline, you should consider leaving it alone. They will die out naturally at the end of the summer and generally bumble nests are not re-used.

For more information:

If you consider it must be destroyed then you need a Pest Controller

Members of the KBKA are not able to deal with bumble bee nests.

  Example of Bumblebee

 

Kennet Beekeepers you can contact for Honey Bee Swarms:

KBKA Member Name Contact Number Area Covered
Martin Gibson 01672 516 617 / 07850 859 824 SN8  2
Simon Mills 01672 861 632 / 07982 199 583 SN8  4
Graham Schofield 07794 582 179 SN8  4
Stephen Sadler 07976 410 349 SN9  5
Robert Carpenter Turner 01672 852 265 / 07956 222 596 SN9  5
Mark Fife 07941 018 594 SN9  6
Alan Stonell 01380 728 089 / 07990 660 913 SN10 1
Pamela Sloane 01380 720 823 / 07796 142 687 SN10 2
Peter Amor 01380 730 818 / 07929 831 219 SN10 3
John Barber 01380 818 717 / 07818 066 890 SN10 4
Richard Oliver 01380 812 368 / 07974 816 947 SN10 4
Andrew Farebrother 01380 816 770 / 07765 400 651 SN10 4
David Penfold 01249 322 880 / 07990 753 429 SN11 8
Mario Caves 01249 658 794 / 07771 571 556 SN15 1
Sophie Chalmers 01249 464 806 / 07711 951 343 SN15 3

While we will do our best to help, our beekeepers are volunteers, so please give them due consideration, including advising IMMEDIATELY if the swarm departs, or you find another beekeeper to assist you. 

If you are outside this area, but within Wiltshire:

please refer to the Wiltshire Beekeepers Association
http://www.wiltshirebeekeepers.org.uk/swarms

For outside Wiltshire:

the British Beekeepers Association has a search facility:
BBKA Find a Swarm Collector

Information you will be asked for . . .

Are they honey bees? Members of KBKA can only collect honeybees and will not normally be able to help with anything else – ie wasps, bumble bees or solitary bees.
Please look at the pictures above to help with identification.

Have they settled in a cluster? When honey bees first arrive there will be a cloud of bees. They may or may not move on. They can only be collected when they have ‘clustered’. See pictures below to see a ‘cluster’ of bees.

Where have they settled? In a tree?, On a fence? How high off the ground?

Are they accessible?

Complete address, Contact name and phone number

NOTE: We can only collect bees with the permission of the land owner where the bees are situated.

For Kennet Beekeepers wishing to be added to the ‘wants bees list’, please see details and policy on post which can be found here.