Swarms and swarm collection

Beekeepers spend a lot of time trying to prevent their bees swarming but inevitably some get away (apparently the bees have read a different book to the rest of us!) However most beekeepers are very keen to retrieve a swarm of bees and are happy to be contacted by members of the public requesting help. See below for details of the swarm collection service that Holsworthy Beekeepers offer to those living in their area.

Many insects produce swarms as part of their natural instinct to set up another family, or colony. A hive of bees, when the conditions are right will decide to split into two, three or even more separate new colonies and over the course of a day each new colony, or swarm, will emerge from the hive and fly off to find a new home.

Before leaving the hive, every bee will gorge herself on honey so that she has enough food for the journey. This is a good thing for anyone who encounters a swarm because having a stomach makes the bee very placid makes it difficult to bend and sting a human.

Usually swarms leave the hive during the middle of a warm sunny day in the spring or early summer and initially do not fly far but will cluster on a suitable low hanging branch. This gives them an opportunity to regroup before flying off to their new home. It is when the swarm is in this condition that is easiest to retrieve because not only are they full of food but they do not have brood (young) to protect or a home to defend, in fact they are concentrating on finding a new home. This is when a local beekeeper will be able to easily collect them. However what usually happens is that the beekeeper arrives just after the swarm has left or the swarm is 30 feet up the tree.

Honey bee, wasp or bumble bee?

When contacted about a 'swarm' the first thing a beekeeper will ask is 'Are they honey bees?'

These pictures may help in making the correct identification

A honey bee, (apis mellifera)

Honeybees vary in colour, from almost black to a golden brown.

A bumble bee

Harmless and endangered so please leave them to get on with their business.

Holsworthy branch swarm collection

This list shows the Holsworthy branch members who are happy to be contacted about swarms of honey bees

Holsworthy swarm collector list for 2016

Area

Name

Contact details

Beaworthy area

Janet Portman

01409 231803

Bude/North Cornwall

Pete McCabe

01288 352462

Bude/North Cornwall

Graham Jones

01288 361147

Bude/North Cornwall

Brian Dixon

01288 359468

Thornbury/Woodacott

Ian Fraser

01409 262216

Holsworthy area

Christopher Penn

01409 259282

Holsworthy/Bradworthy

Andrew Sluggett

01409 241563

Holsworthy and Milton Damerel area

Anne Binns

01409 261381

Kilkhampton and Morewenstow area

Melissa Richards

01288 255061

Kilkhampton and 10 mile radius

Rowan Fawden

01288 321598

Langtree area

Ruth Neal

01805 601715

Shebbear and area

David Walker

01409 281509

Whitstone area

Daniel and Michael Woodward

01288 341508

Notes:

1) The above bee keepers do not guarantee to be able to deal with all honey bee swarms, especially if the swarm is not easily accessible from the ground.

2) The decision about what action to take is that of the bee keeper alone.

3) Holsworthy branch of DBKA is acting simply as a co–ordinating body; any arrangements are solely between the bee keeper and the member of the public who has the problem with the swarm.

Holsworthy Beekeepers

Branch Logo

Holsworthy Beekeepers is a branch of
Devon Beekeepers Association

Registered Charity Number 270675


Page last updated on
17 April 2016