Have you found a swarm of honeybees?

Honeybees can swarm for many reasons, it usually happens in spring and can occur right through the summer. If the Queen bee has ran out of space to lay eggs or the worker bees have no more space to store nectar, they can make preparations to reproduce as a colony.

Please include a picture with your swarm report

Report a swarm

Swarms are collected and at first will go to our isolation apiary to check for pests and disease. After their lockdown, they might be moved into another apiary. We have apiaries in Meadow Well, Earsdon, Seaton Deleval and Dundee! Collection is a free service, please send a picture or video. You can visit our hives, find our more here

Get in touch to arrange collection.

What to expect during collection

Beekeepers are always happy to collect, there are usually lots of swarms at the beginning of the year as colonies are expanding.

When collecting a swarm, safety is priority. Unless there is a spare suite (ask!) please keep your distance. The honeybees do not have stores or young to protect so are usually harmless when swarming.

Once the Queen is found and is put into a box, or sometimes a straw skep, they will be left near to where they clustered until the sun has set. This is to allow any flying bees to return to the swarm. We will return to collect the swarm later in the day after the sun has set or early in the morning of the next day.

The honeybees are transported to an isolation apiary. They can be inspected for disease and treated accordingly before joining other colonies at an apiary around North Tyneside.

See a swarm in action

What if the swarm cannot be collected?

If i am unable to collect, i will pass the message around my beekeeping network. Otherwise you can use the interactive and nationwide map to track down a beekeeper. Find it on the British Beekeepers Association website.

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Extraction and cut outs

If a swarm has set up a colony in your home you require an extraction or ‘cut out’. This is more complicated than a swarm removal as the honeybees have a delicate nest which must be carefully removed. Often, extra insurance is required as brickwork might need to be removed. In most cases i prefer to team up with a local trusted Integrated Pest Management company. Andrew at Greenway IPM offers a reliable and professional service which includes honeybee colony extraction. You can read about a job Andrew and i attended to in Eglington here This article was also featured in the British Beekeepers Association Magazine.

No matter how ‘talented’ a beekeeper claims to be, their hives swarm. It’s intrinsic to honey bees and part of their life cycle.

Keeping honeybees in a hive requires a watchful eye and a willingness to take action. It’s worth appreciating that even though the individual bees you can see are alive and an entity in their own right, the honeybee colony and what is contained within the (usually) wooden hive is also an entity in it’s own right. It is alive just like you or I and actually a Super Organism.

Beekeepers should learn the signs of when a colony intends on swarming, such as building queen cells and carry out an artificial swarm (pagden split), where you manipulate the colony into thinking it has already swarmed. Better still you can stay ahead of a colonies rapid expansion and ensure they have enough space to store nutrition and for brood to be raised.