Blandford and Sturminster Beekeepers Association
Blandford and Sturminster Beekeepers Association

Swarm Help

Swarming is a natural part of a bee colony's life cycle. When a hive becomes strong and gets the urge to reproduce, a number of bees will leave in a swarm. This is a noisy and busy process and some people get alarmed by it. But it is just the bees way of "being fruitful and multiplying".

 

Once a swarm leaves a hive it flies a short distance and then rests in a characteriosic clump while explorers go looking for a new hive site. Some people are anxious for bees to move on, but they will do this after a day or two anyway. However, very few bees nowadays survive without the attention of a beekeeper and sometimes the site t hat they choose brings them into conflict with people. So people seeing swarms resting often try and report it to beekeepers who will see the bees to a good home.

The first step is to find a swarm collector by visiting the BBKA Swarm page and entering your postcode. This will give you the contact details for your nearest swarm collector.

 

If the swarm is in a chimney, behind a fascia board, at the top of a tall tree, on a roof (or inside the structure) or somewhere it is difficult to collect, beekeepers have no magic and cannot collect them. If the swarm can be reached from a stepladder and is in view then we are very happy to collect it.

 

Swarms are usually collected in the evening when flying bees have returned.  The beekeeper (in full protective clothing) sweeps or knocks the swarm into a basket-like skep and then keeps them there while the remaining flying bees return; the swarm can then be removed to a new home.  If the swarm arrives about midday and you spot it, it is likely it will still be there when the beekeeper arrives. The longer a swarm stays in one place the sooner it will take off to a chosen nest site and we will arrive in vain. So please let the collector know when you first saw it as well giving as good a description as possible of where it is and any potential access problems.

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