At present we are dealing with an increasing number of calls regarding how to deal with a swarm of bees. Swarming is predominantly a spring or early Summer phenomenon in the UK. Garages, sheds and chimneys are all favourite locations for swarming bees. While mostly harmless, the possible numbers involved can be unnerving due to sheer volume. Especially if they swarm within your house or outbuildings. If you leave the bees alone, they will leave you alone. A swarm can contain as many as several thousand bees.
Besides making honey, bees are incredible pollinators and research suggests that they are responsible for pollinating 90% of our crops globally.
Why do bees swarm?
Swarming is a honey bee colony’s natural means of reproduction. A swarm will take place when the colony splits for a new nest site. This may be due to overcrowding, or because they abscond altogether as a result of a lack of food or water nearby, parasite or disease infestation or weather conditions, to name a few reasons. If they are to swarm, the colony will create new queen cells and allow the queen to lay eggs so that a new queen can take over the hive after the swarm takes flight.
The queen bee will leave the colony with a group of worker bees. Scouts then search for a new location to begin building a hive. While the scouts are performing their role, a swarm may persist in the same location for a number of days. Swarms moving on without forming a hive are not a cause for concern. However, bees establishing a colony within the home need to be dealt with professionally. They can often be found in chimneys and wall cavities.
Collection of swarming bees
It is relatively easy for us to remove bees in a cluster when in an open space. Our technician will use their expertise to coax the queen into a box or bag. With the queen collected the rest of the swarm will follow, and the technician will then relocate away from the area. Some of our technicians are friends with beekeepers within the locale of the swarm, and where possible will seek to pass on the swarm this way.
Treatment of bees
Unfortunately, bees can take up residence in places that are either dangerous or inaccessible for our technicians to safely move the swarm on, for example, a chimney. As a very last resort then a treatment with insecticide will be used. Nests within a chimney are difficult to deal with as we have to be careful of contaminating other bees if treated with an insecticide. We do this by using a non-residual insecticide and blocking up holes after treatment.
PESTUK are full members of the BPCA, the governing body for pest control in the UK. Using a BPCA member company ensures you have a qualified, fully insured company treating your pest problem.
Call us on 0330 100 2811 to book an appointment regarding bee swarms, or any other pest problem you may have.