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..

If the swarm is in the West

  • Harry Owens 494246
  • Robert Wright 301362
  • Mike Horne 482982
  • Andy Scarlett 426509

If the swarm is in the North

  • Maggie Hughes 427023
  • Steve Bassil 468714
  • Robert Kneale 415900
  • Richard Smith 480213
  • Bryan Lord 466654
  • Michael Dougherty 457686

If the swarm is in the East

  • Jon Burgess 475876
  • David Roberts 331157

if Laxey try Ian Elder 450542

or Strang Paul Lenartowicz 460504

If the swarm is in the South

  • Gwen Kelly 459197
  • Johnny Kipps 499511
  • Mark Saunders 471594
  • Roger Putman 263498