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Think you have located a swarm of honeybees?  Firstly, please don't panic, honey bees are generally benign when swarming unless you interfere with them.  So, leave them alone, then follow the steps below.

  1. Check that you are seeing honey bees (not wasps or bumblebees) - USE THE GUIDE BELOW!   

  2. If you are sure the swarm is honey bees identify a local swarm collector using the British Beekeeping website. Make sure you have gathered the details shown below.

  3. If you are in the Bradford area you can contact Bradford BKA in Ilkley, Skipton and the Dales contact Wharfedale BKA.

  4. Gather the following information before you make contact: 

- exactly where the swarm is located

- a description of the sort of location it is in (tree, bush, building etc)

- is it accessible safely from the ground?

- include a photo of the swarm 


  • Swarm collection provided through BBKA members is done by volunteers and so you should not expect an instant response.  Leave the bees alone while you are waiting. 

  • Swarms can only be collected as long as the bees are easily accessible.  If they can be safely removed, they will be hived elsewhere by a trained beekeeper.

  • Beekeepers can only help if it is safe for them to do so - it is not possible to collect swarms at height or in locations that are difficult to access.  Swarms within buildings will generally require the services of a trained pest control expert. 

  • Beekeepers do not deal with wasps.

Honey bee, bumble bee or wasp?
  • Honey Bees are slim bodied and brown in colour.  A swarm typically gathers in a bunch similar to the image below.

  • Wasps are a similar shape and size to honey bees but with yellow legs and distinctive black and yellow stripes.  They do not swarm but build a papery nest. 

Bumble bees are fat and fuzzy with round tummies.  Generally harmless, they gather in small colonies of just a few hundred, often in walls or trees. The colony dies out and disappears in the autumn, leaving the queen to hibernate over the winter. There are 24 species of these fascinating insects in the UK, find out more at Bumblebee Conservation Trust

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