Swarm Advice

Do you have a swarm of honey bees…..

 European Honey BeeEuropean Honey Bee

Honey Bee Swarm

Example of Honey Bee Swarm

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 and you will need to contact an insured removal / pest control service for this.

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. In either case you will need to contact an insured removal / pest control service for this.

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.


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.


Example of a wasp nest


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


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

mailto:alertnonnative@ceh.ac.ukIf you wish to speak to someone locally about possible Asian Hornets please contact Asian Hornet Co-ordinator using details on Contact KBKA page .

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 Hornetasianhorn1asianhorn2
(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**.


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

If your swarm looks something like this, hanging on a tree, shrub, post or anything else outside, then the chances are you have a swarm of Honeybees.

Honey Bee Swarm

At Kennet Beekeeping we provide a free swarm collection service, whereby  one of our approved members will come along and collect the swarm and take it away to be properly housed.

Kennet Beekeepers you can contact for Honey Bee Swarms, which have clustered outside and NOT within building walls, chimneys, eaves:
(please use ‘Area Covered’ to contact a beekeeper within/closest to area swarm is located.)

KBKA Member Name  Contact Number Area Covered
Vivian John H 01672 512 702/07595 265 802 SN8 1
Ray J 01380 827010/07748 532 454 SN10 1
Claire P 07801 545 649 SN9 6
Richard P 07971 563 360 SN4 0
Ian P 01672 562633/07990  756 989 SN9 5
Edward N 07826 223 195 SN8 3
Nicola W 07857  420 309 SN10 2
Stephen D 07454 776897 SN10 3
Jeremy A 01672 564 724/07879 778 843 SN9 5
Julian B 01249 740740/07768 140027 SN11 8
Angela B 01249 760 788/07747 852 070 SN11 8
Paul B 07966 150 603 SN10 5
Mario C 01249 658 794/07771 571 556 SN15 1
Mark F 07941 018 594 SN9 6
Martin G 01672 516617/07850  859 824 SN8 2
Jeremy P 01249 736 597/07799 698 568 SN11 8
Emma M 07971 576 995 SN13 9
Richard O 01380 812 368/07974 816 947 SN10 4
Martin P 01672 512 660/07799 472 084 SN8 3
Chris S 07765 694 007 SP3 4
Sophie B 07711 951343 SN15 3
Richard R 01249 714213/07736 383 612 SN13 9
Rachael B 01249 892 289/07767 895 244 SN15 4
Robert C 01672 852 265/07956 222 596 SN9 5

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 have any questions regarding a possible swarm or can not reach someone within the area the swarm is located then please contact our swarm co-ordinator, Paul B,  on swarms@kennet-beekeepers.co.uk or 07966 150 603

If you are outside this area, but within Wiltshire:

please refer to the Wiltshire Beekeepers Association

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 ‘swarm collector list’, Please refer to the KBKA Rule Book section 5 – Swarm Collecting Policy.

If you have honey bees within a building i.e. within chimney, walls, eaves, then this is NOT a free removal service provided by Kennet Beekeepers Association. We do however have a number of beekeepers who would be willing to carry out the removal for an agreed fee. This is not an arrangement between yourself and Kennet Beekeepers Association and is strictly between you and the beekeeper. We strongly advise you to agree the cost upfront and to discuss what state the property will be in, along with what remedial work will be required once the bees have been removed.

Beekeepers you can contact for Honey Bees who have made a home within building walls, chimneys, eaves (Not a free service and not provided by Kennet Beekeepers Association):

Pest Control Service.  Contact Number.  Email  Website
Ben Rawlings   07986 658 411 ben@tcepestsolutions.co.uk  http://www.tcepestsolutions.co.uk