If they are honey bees but cannot be collected by a local beekeeper you could try contacting the Environmental Health Department of your local district council. Whilst councils don’t consider bees (whether honey or not) as pests they do provide control services, that vary between councils, so might be able to deal with your visitors should they turn out not be honey bees but rather some pest.
Following a change in process all swarm collectors are now collated centrally by the BBKA.
If you want to be added to the list of swarm collectors please contact the swarm liaison officer; details on the List of OBKA Contacts page. Note that you must be a current paid-up OBKA member and supply a valid postcode otherwise your details will not appear on the BBKA map.
If a beekeeper is available to collect your swarm no charge is made for collection. Most beekeeper associations will however encourage a charitable donation to go towards the costs of the call-out and their time. The following document describes this for swarm collectors who are members of OBKA:
First to re-iterate, swarm collectors only collect swarms of honey bees.
- Yes, on most occasions a swarm of honey bees can be collected by a beekeeper who wants to increase their stock of bees. The exception to this is when:
- there is no beekeeper available to collect the swarm
- the bees you have are not honey bees – see how to identify honey bees
- the honey bees have settled in an inaccessible place, for example if they are deep inside a chimney – we can advise about this
Please note that no guarantee can be given that someone will be available to attend or that the beekeeper will collect the swarm. The final decision as to whether a swarm is safe or viable to collect lies solely with the attending beekeeper. We only collect honey bees and under no circumstances will we destroy honey bees or any other types of bee/insect.
A swarm of bees can appear very alarming, however if you exercise a little caution they are normally of no danger to humans or animals.
In this case please contact the OBKA Swarms Liaison officer; details are on the OBKA Contacts page.
If you go to the following webpage you will find information on honey bee swarms and a map with swarm collectors in your area.
Before you call, please check the BBKA website which will help you differentiate between honey bee swarms and other types of bees/wasps/hornets. Please note that beekeepers can only deal with honey bees and, as we are a charity run by volunteers, we cannot guarantee a response.
Swarms are generally harmless, i.e. they will not sting you, unless they are provoked. Please leave it alone until contacted by a swarm collector. Do not let children or pets interfere with it. Generally, swarms collect in one place for a day or so while they find a suitable new home. Once they have decided where to live, they will leave quickly in a large swarm cloud. This is not dangerous but is best avoided.
If the swarm does not move for several days, the bees may become more aggressive as they run out of food.