A swarm of bees in a tree

A swarm settled on a branch of a tree. Photo courtesy of Kevin Harvey

What to do if you see a swarm of bees

Honey bees will swarm anytime from mid April until the end of July. It is their natural means of increasing the number of colonies. The queen will fly off with half the workers leaving behind a new queen cell waiting to hatch out. The swarm will cluster nearby while scout bees hunt for a new home.

Please do not report lots of bees flying about but wait for the swarm to settle. They are just resting so under no circumstances should they be sprayed with anything. Swarming bees think they are on holiday and are generally not aggressive but it is probably best to stay back and not provoke them until someone comes to collect the swarm.

During working hours the prime Island contact is DEFA on 685894.

DEFA will ask the informant for details of the location, accessibility, their name and contact number. DEFA has a list of collectors who are available during the day and will aim to get someone out as quickly as possible. The scout bees will be hunting hard, so time is of the essence otherwise we might find the bees have set up home in a chimney pot or a cellar which will cause worse problems later on. The local collector should retrieve the swarm and use a list of people in the locality wanting to provide it with a home. Since it is illegal to import bees to the Island, these swarms are valuable additions to their individual apiaries. Since time immemorial no fee is charged for a swarm of bees.

At evenings and weekends inform the IOM Beekeepers Federation

Use the contact list below. From the area of the swarm, call the first number and hopefully they will answer. If not please call the next number and so on until someone in that area responds.

Please remember that swarm collectors are all volunteers so please be patient.

Note also that the local beekeepers cannot deal with bumble bee nests, villages of solitary bees or wasps nests, seagulls or any other flying creature which is causing concern to the public, these should be referred to DEFA for attention if they are causing a nuisance.

If you are at all unsure that what you are seeing is a swarm of honeybees, please look at this advice before calling out the Swarm Patrol..


Coordinator Harry Owens 494246 Answerphone 801315

Deputy Robert Wright 301362

Location of Experienced Beekeepers

The North of the Island down to North of Kirk Michael & North of Laxey

Maggie Hughes 427023 Ramsey – Can cover most of the northern area
Bryan Lord 326558 Sulby – Can cover most of the northern area
Steve Bassil 468714 Ramsey – Can cover most of the northern area
Robert Kneale 415900 Jurby – Can cover most of the northern area
Michael Dougherty 457686 Ramsey – Can cover most of the northern area
Richard Smith 480213 Glen Mona – Can cover most of the northern area
Andrew Clague-Hicks 421986 Ballaugh – Can cover most of the northern area

From Kirk Michael to Laxey & from Dalby to Bottom Richmond Hill

Robert Wright 301362 Crosby – Can cover St Johns, Baldwin, Douglas, Onchan and near areas, Western areas through into Douglas
Mike Horne 482982 Peel – Can cover Peel, Glen Maye, St Johns, Foxdale, Kirk Michael areas, Western areas through into Douglas
John Burgess 475876 Douglas – Can cover Douglas, Onchan and near areas
Andy Scarlett 426509 Glen Maye – Can cover Glen Maye and Dalby
Ian Elder 450542 Laxey – Can cover Laxey and Lonan area
Paul Lenartowicz 460504 Strang – Can cover Baldwin, Strang and Douglas
John Ward 480319 DEFA – Available at DEFA to go out to collect if needed

From Top Richmond Hill across to St Marks and Ronague covering the whole South

Gwen Kelly 459197 Santon – Can cover most of the South
Bronwyn Ward 480303 South – Can cover most of the South
Alan Macnair 462553 Castletown – Can cover most of the South
Mark Saunders 471594 South – Can cover most of the South
Stan Clucas 452493 Port Erin – Can cover most of the South
John Corteen 458143 851987 Colby – Can cover most of the South
Roger Putman 263498 Port Erin – Can cover most of the South

The collectors are flexible and can cover more than the suggested areas if a difficulty arises in contacting them

Please note that Harry Owens is the co-ordinator.
In any case of difficulty contact Harry Owens on 801315 (answer phone) or 494246 (mob).