Is it a Swarm?
If the ‘swarm’ is thousands of bees in flight darkening the sky or a grapefruit sized or larger accumulation of bees clustered together – then Yes. Otherwise – No.
Most honeybee colonies swarm each year when the old queen leaves the nest with half of the bees to find a new home. Whilst scout bees search for a suitable nest site the rest of the swarm cluster around the queen, perhaps in a tree, somewhere near their old home where at least one virgin queen is waiting to hatch, mate, and be the new matriarch of the colony.
Unless disturbed, a cluster of honeybees is not a problem and, if accessible, your local beekeeper will be pleased to come and take them away to his / her local apiary. All other manifestations of bees – be they honeybees in chimneys, garden bumble bees in compost heaps, miner bees in the ground, tree bees in bird boxes, masonry bees in soft mortared brick walls – are of no interest to0 a beekeeper other than for t6he part they play in the wonderful world of nature.
No honeybee or variety of bumble bee is naturally aggressive if left alone. Be grateful that they have temporarily chosen your home as a ‘des res’ – all bee colonies die off in the autumn other than honeybees and even they will not survive as a colony for more than a year or two unless they are in a hive competently managed by a beekeeper.
A feral honeybee colony cannot be enticed out of its chosen home. It will not cause any damage to the fabric of a building and only in extremis should a pest controller be employed to eradicate any specie of bee. Wasps are a different matter!
In the months of April, May and June the British Beekeeping Association (BBKA) routinely receives a thousand telephone calls a week from ill-informed members of the public who are gently (normally!) directed to the BBKA website http://www.bbka.org.uk/help/do_you_have_a_swarm.php where there are pictures of bees, wasps and hornets for identification purposes. Should the so-called ‘swarm’ be exactly that (see beginning of article!), the nearest registered beekeeper(s) can be found by the simple expedient of entering the affected property’s post code.
Douglas Nethercleft (Shipston Beekeepers) 07850 352905
Bee Swarm at Loxley
Would someone like to gather a swarm at Loxley? Contact Sara Barrass, Sarabarrass@mac.com 07854 217982.
Last updated 24 May 2015