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 them.

At all times contact should be made using the geographically based list by clicking below. During working hours if DEFA Pest Control is called they will refer callers to this website and will only call a beekeeper if the caller has no internet access.

The Beekeeper will ask the informant to confirm that the swarm has clustered and then ask for details of the location, accessibility, their name and contact number. Collectors will aim to attend as quickly as possible. Please remember that swarm collectors are all volunteers and some of them work during the day so please be patient and be prepared to make several phone calls.

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.

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 on 685894 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..

Click here to see a list of beekeepers able to deal with swarms

Click here if you are a beekeeper wanting to hive a swarm