Swarm Collection

Wigton and surrounding area swarm collection

Swarm 1

If you have a swarm of honeybees in your garden and you don’t want them to make it their permanent home, it’s best to have them removed as quickly as possible by experienced swarm collectors.  Call Adrian on 07813 878853 or 016973 49993 – I can sometimes collect them at short notice around Wigton and the immediate surrounding area.

Safety First

You may hear people say that a swarm of honeybees is not aggressive, this to a large extent is true, but remember, the swarm will contain thousands, or likely tens of thousands of bees, all equipped with a sting which they are prepared to use if they feel threatened either as a colony or individually.

If you see a swarm, please keep children, pets and yourself a safe distance from it.

Identifying a Swarm of Honeybees

When you see a swarm of bees in the garden they will be either swirling in the air, or hanging in a beard type shape, probably in a tree or on a fence, but it can be almost anywhere, they have been seen in buildings and on cars amongst other unusual and difficult to reach places, making life rather interesting for swarm collectors.

  1. Swirling in the air – If what you have seen is literally thousands, or possibly tens of thousands of bees swirling around in the air (they probably all settled somewhere quite quickly) they are honeybees. No other insects are of a similar size and swarm quite like the honeybee does.
  2. A settled mass of bees – Before the swarm finds a permanent new home it will settle somewhere, often in a tree, but it can be almost anywhere, they usually hang in a long beard type shape.  From here some of the workers will fly out and look for a new location for their new home, then come back and eventually the whole swarm will up and move to the new location, but beware as they like dark dry places, so a crack in the chimney, or at the end of the eaves can look like a great place to them, once they move in somewhere like this, removal becomes much more difficult, sometimes impossible.

AJApiaries 5

If you do happen to see one of the honeybees close up, it will be almost 2cm in length and a similar shape to a wasp, with a striped abdomen, the colours can vary from almost black to much lighter orange, almost beige stripes, they are slightly hairy too, but you would have to be very close to notice that.

Similar Flying Insects

Wasps, Hornets and any one of the other 250 species of bees which live in the UK can look fairly similar to the Honeybee, however although Wasps, Hornets and Bumble Bees all live in colonies none of them swarm and all other bees are solitary, so don’t live in colonies (although they can live in very close proximity to each other).

Bumblebees

  • Bumblebees are often confused with honeybees.
  • However they are rounder, larger and furrier and come with a variety of coloured stripes across the end of their tails.  Are they in a bird box, under the decking, in the compost?
  • Leave them alone if possible. Bumblebees are an important pollinator and rarely sting.  Bumblebees are under threat of extinction.

I will not come out to collect or remove Bumblebees

Solitary bees

  • Are there lots of small bees popping in and out of the wall or very small holes in the ground.
  • Do they have a reddy / brown bottom?
  • Are they almost black?
  • These are Solitary Bees, they are harmless and as their name suggest live more or less alone.
  • They aren’t interested in you and should be left alone.

I will not come out to collect or remove Solitary Bees

Wasps

  • Are they bright yellow with black stripes?
  • Very smooth mainly yellow with black stripes?
  • Are they in the roof of your house?
  • Are they coming from a round nest in a tree?
  • Is there a nest in the shed?
  • Do they have a high-pitched buzz?
  • Are they after all things sweet?
  • Then these are probably Wasps.

I will not come out to collect or remove Wasps

Hornets

  • Are they very big with a loud buzz?
  • Are they black and brown with a hint of orange?
  • Living in the roof or shed?
  • Do they have a very big curved tail?
  • These are Hornets.

I will not come out to collect or remove Hornets

Honeybees

  • Honeybees are small and vary in colour from golden brown to almost black, to almost yellow.
  • A swarm of honeybees will look very similar to the pictures of swarms on this page.
  • If you are looking at these then please get in touch with me and I will provide appropriate help or advice with your honey bee swarm.

I will always come out to collect or remove Honeybees if I can

 

What Swarm Collectors do

As long as the queen is in the box or Skep used, the workers will follow, some standing at the entrance with their abdomen in the air, buzzing their wings, this is to waft pheromones outwards, so any other bees from the swarm who were flying when they were moved can find them in the new location.

Swarm 3

What do we do with the Bees?

When a honeybee swarm is collected, it is taken away from the area and placed in a hive, assuming the queen is there they will usually start drawing out honeycombs and the queen will begin to lay eggs, as soon as this happens we know they are well and truly settled. They are then monitored for disease and parasites and treated accordingly, if required.

Why not just leave them where they are?

If left alone they will usually fly away again, sometimes in hours, other times days, but usually to a permanent home fairly close by.  When they are in a swarm they are usually relatively easy to access, however when they set up permanent residence it can be much harder to have them removed.

A favourite location is in a chimney stack or a crack in a wall which leads to a cavity on the inside, this makes a honeybee swarm collectors task very tricky.  The entrance could be close to a populated area, so it’s best to not give them the chance to become a more permanent problem.

Wild colonies (and swarms) of honeybees are affected by the Varroa mites too, so often a wild swarm, if not treated by a beekeeper and possibly also fed for their first winter, may not survive. By spotting a swarm and calling me or any other beekeeper to collect it, you are actually helping the UK’s declining honeybee population.

Pest Control

I do not specialise in pest control and will not kill the bees for you!  If you have a wasps nest which needs removing it’s best to call a professional pest control company, as they will have the suitable equipment and insurances to deal with wasp removal, honeybee swarm collectors use different equipment to catch as opposed to killing them!

If you are thinking ‘I have a swarm of honeybees, a nest of bees, a swarm of bees, a bees nest’ or anything else you might call them please do get in touch, I would be more than happy to remove the problem.

Honey Bee Swarm collection in Wigton and immediate surrounding area – if you don’t fall into one of these areas then I can usually put you in touch with someone closer to you who may be able to help.  Just call, text or leave me a message on 07813 878853 or 016973 49993 – I’m always happy to help!