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Swarms

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. Where are you?  If you are in the Aire Valley (roughly from Baildon and in the Aire Valley south of Skipton) ABKA may be able to help you with the swarm.  Otherwise, please identify a local swarm collector using the British Beekeeping website.

  3. In the Bradford area contact Bradford BKA, in Ilkley, Skipton and the Dales contact Wharfedale BKA.

  4. If you are sure you have honey bees and live in the Aire Valley please contact us by phone or email during the hours of 9am to 6pm. We will need details about the precise location of the swarm and your contact details.

PLEASE NOTE ABKA's swarm collection is generally free of charge: if the bees are easily accessible we can remove and safely hive them with one of our beekeepers. We can only help if it is safe for us to do so - we cannot work at height or in locations that are difficult to access.  Swarms in high buildings generally require the services of a trained pest control expert.  We do not deal with wasps.

 

To contact us to request help with a swarm, please email our swarm co-ordinator or call 07976 626391.

Honey bee, bumble bee or wasp?
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  • 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.

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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