If a swarm of bees lands in your garden, and you would like the assistance of a beekeeper to either advise you, or to remove the swarm, then please visit the BBKA (British Beekeepers Association) website as soon as the bees have settled (do not delay), find the ‘Swarms’ page, put in your postcode and you will be provided with a list of local beekeepers who act as ‘Swarm Collectors’.
If you are uncertain which insect you have in your garden or property, visit the BBKA website, which has a handy identification guide for bees, bumble bees and wasps.
If a swarm has taken up residence in a chimney or roof space then it is unlikely that the swarm can be removed without damage to the property and the services of a pest controller may be required.
Information for receivers of a swarm.
If you receive a swarm, how should it be looked after?
· A swarm is either a prime swarm headed by a mated queen probably at least a year old, or a cast headed by a virgin queen that will need to get mated before commencing egg laying. A cast is likely to be smaller than a prime swarm. A prime swarm might supercede its queen in the autumn.
· You will receive it in a nuc box, polynuc, skep or cardboard box, and it will need to be transferred into your hive.
· This is done in the evening, and can be done in the traditional and wonderful method of laying a sheet on a ramp leading up to the entrance of the hive, tipping the bees out onto the sheet and watch them walk up to the entrance. If you are lucky, you will see the queen among them and, once she is in you are home and dry. Usually they will not all be inside by dark, but they will find their way in eventually-OR-
· They can be shaken into the hive after removing the roof, crownboard and a couple of frames in the middle of the brood box to make room. After the bees are in the brood box, close up the frames and the hive.
· Always hive onto frames of clean foundation
· Do not feed for 48 hours
· Then syrup made up with granulated sugar to draw wax, normally 1:1 but 2:1 is sometimes recommended.
· If possible get the swarm established in a quarantine apiary other than your usual one until the colony has sealed brood when it should be checked for brood disease before returning it to your usual apiary. Be mindful that your quarantine apiary might be close to someone else’s bees.
· While the swarm is broodless, this is an opportunity to treat it for varroa either with oxalic acid or Apiguard.
· Expand the hive as the colony develops.
Anne McQuade June 2017