How to recognise a swarm of Honey Bees and what to do next.
If you think you have a swarm of Honey Bees, please firstly read the following information as we do get lots of calls to Bumble Bees and Wasps. If you still think that they are indeed Honey Bees, please get in contact with our Swarm Co-ordinator Heather Wigmore on 01342 714344 or alternatively contact a member of the committee (please see some members) who will endeavour to help you.
Honey Bees are slender insects that are about half an inch long mostly brown with lighter bands. They can vary in colour from almost black to golden brown. If a swarm is in progress you will see a lot of flying bees milling about and the air will appear thick with bees. Eventually they will settle into a cluster on anything from a tree branch to a man made object. This swarm can usually now be collected by a beekeeper (See above). They are usually very calm in this state and unless antagonised will not normally sting. These swarms are now needed by beekeepers who try their best to keep the Honey Bee population alive and well.
If the bees have taken up residence in a permanant structure such as a chimmney breast or under your eaves it is very hard to remove them and professional help will need to be sought. Please get in touch for advice.
Please do not attempt to kill the bees. Even if you manage to kill them you will leave behind honey which will attract other Honey Bees as well as Wasps so you will be back to where you started. Any residual pesticide used to kill the colony will be picked up and could be transferred to managed colonies of Honey Bees and kill them too.
If the origin of the poisoning can be identified, the user wil be prosecuted and a substantial fine imposed.
The so called ' Killer Bees' (Africanised) DO NOT occur in the UK.
Honey Bees, Bumble Bees and Solitary Bees are protected and may not be destroyed other than in exceptional circumstances.
These are very commonly mistaken for Honey Bees. They are however larger and furrier. They have two sizes. The Queen Bumble Bee can be about the size of the end of your thumb and the smaller which is the worker is about the size of the end of your little finger.
They can sting but do so only very rarely and are very, very dificult to provoke. The Bumble Bee does not swarm. They may nest in small cavities in walls but are most commonly found in holes in the ground or under sheds. If you find bees when stirring up your compost heap, they will most probably be Bumble Bees. If they are in the lid of a compost bin hanging down, these will probably be Honey Bees. Bumble Bees do not like to be disturbed and will only stay for one season, moving on in the autumn.
WASPS and HORNETS
Wasps are slender with black and yellow stripes. They are often confused with Honey Bees but are much brighter and yellower. Their nests are usually spherical and are made from paper substance chewed from soft wood. They can also nest in the ground. You should NEVER try to destroy a wasp nest yourself as this is dangerous and could even prove fatal. This must be done by a LICENCED Pest Controller. Hornets are like big wasps. LEAVE WELL ALONE and treat as wasps.
There are many other less common types of bees and insects that are harmless and best left alone as they do no harm and are good for the environment.
Thank you for reading this and if you still think you have Honey Bees please contact us (Details Above)