Reporting a Swarm!

Honey bees can swarm at any time from mid-April to August. A swarm of bees can be a worrying sight, but swarming bees rarely sting: their objective is to find a new home as soon as possible. Where safe and practical to do so, Pembrokeshire Beekeepers will attempt to recover honey bees and place them in a hive.

However, please ensure that what you have found are honey bees before contacting us on the telephone numbers at the bottom of the page, by using the following guide:

1. Honey beesare about the same size as a wasp but are duller in colour – if you see a large cluster of thousands of insects hanging on a branch or fence post this may be a swarm of honey bees. Please note that we do not recover bees from buildings etc. for health and safety reasons and because of the structural damage that may be caused. We will also not destroy honey bee nests – this is a pest control problem – honey bees are not protected, so do not be put off if you are told this. If a Pembrokeshire resident, call Pembrokeshire County Council’s, Customer Contact Centre on 01437 764551 and ask for Pest Control.

2. Wasps

do not swarm. Each year a new nest is built which looks like a paper lantern.  Close to it is easy to distinguish between wasps which are brighter yellow and with a narrower waist than the honey bee.  If insects are flying from a gap in roof tiles near the ridge, it can be tricky. If the nest is visible identification is easy. Please note that we will not deal with wasps or their nests – if a Pembrokeshire resident, call Pembrokeshire County Council’s Customer Contact Centre on 01437 764551 and ask for Pest Control.

3. Bumblebees

do not swarm. Most people can recognise bumblebees they are much bigger and fewer than honey bees with layer of hairs on their bodies which is usually banded black and yellow (or orange or red) and the traffic at the nest entrance will consist of only a few bees a minute, whereas a busy hive will have almost a cloud of bees at the entrance.

If you have bees in your bird box, they are probably the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum) (see picture below), which have come over from the continent in recent years.  They aren’t particularly aggressive, but are likely to defend their nest if they feel threatened.

We will be unable to help you with a bumble bee problem. The bees will disappear over winter and are unlikely to return to the same location so if possible enjoy them for the summer.

4. Solitary bees

do not swarm. Since these bees are quite fussy about where they set up their nests, it is not uncommon for many bees to do so in close proximity, and if the conditions are right a large number of nests can mature almost at the same time. In this case a large number of bees will be seen crawling about. One of the most common is the red mason bee, which can often be seen exploiting holes in brickwork or footpaths for its nesting site. We will be unable to help you with a solitary bee problem. Again, if possible, enjoy them.

If you have looked at the above checklist and think you have a Honey Bee swarm please contact:

Swarm Co-ordinator (North of County) – Jeremy Percy on 07799 698568

Swarm Co-ordinator (South of County) – Alan Johnson on 07867 988597

Bee theft update!

It has been reported that a white van was attempting to enter an apiary in the Cresselly area yesterday and took off when approached. It is strongly recommended that all beekeepers remain highly vigilant and check their apiaries for security. If you see any suspicious activity, please take the registration number of any associated vehicle and report to the police and ourselves asap.

Attempted Bee Thefts

We have been advised of an attempt to steal bees in the Carmarthen area, where several men in bee suits with a large white van and a double wheeled trailer, were attempting to enter an out-apiary. When they realised they had been seen they drove away quickly at speed.

We advise all beekeepers to be on their guard and to advise the land owner (for those of you with out-apiaries) and also any other beekeepers in the area. If you should see any suspicious activity, please try and get the registration number of the vehicle and a phone picture if possible.

American Foul Brood (AFB) outbreak

Would PBKA members please note that there has recently been an outbreak of American Foul Brood (AFB) in the Canaston Bridge area (OS map reference SN01).

We have been advised to direct you to the National Bee Unit (NBU) factsheet Apiary_Hygiene_and_Quarantine for your information and action. Also ‘Foulbrood Disease of Honey Bees and other common brood disorders’ has a lot of information on biosecurity and barrier management, including ‘10 rules for foulbrood control’. These are on Beebase at: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

All beekeepers have a duty to keep healthy, disease free bees and the PBKA strongly recommends that beekeepers sign up to Beebase in order to ensure that they receive any warnings and can obtain advice etc. in the event of a disease outbreak.

Beekeepers within 3km of the outbreak with a current email address on Beebase, will have been emailed an alert from the NBU. All beekeepers within 5km of an outbreak should exercise vigilance as per the above factsheet, which also covers swarm collection and we strongly recommend that all swarms caught are quarantined for a period of 6 weeks with any concerns advised to your local Bee Inspector.

Please note if PBKA members see any hives in their area which appear to be abandoned, or are of unknown origin, contact Paul Eades, the Apiary Manager with details.

PBKA Auction – Sale of Bees and Equipment – Saturday 4th May 2019

PBKA Auction – Sale of Bees and Equipment – Saturday 4th May 2019

Please note that this year’s beekeeping auction is in The Pavilion, Withybush Showground, Haverfordwest, SA62 4BW this Saturday 4th May. There are 32 lots of bees for sale, plus numerous items of beekeeping equipment etc.

Viewing starts from 11am and the sale starts at 1pm promptly! Note that the Pavilion is behind the ‘Go Kart’ building at Withybush Showground.

All enquiries to the PBKA Chairman, Jeremy Percy on 07799 698 568

All are welcome, whether beekeepers or not and we look forward to seeing you there!

PBKA Auction – Sale of Bees and Equipment – Saturday 4th May 2019

The Pavilion, Withybush Showground, Haverfordwest, SA62 4BW

Important Notes:

  • Viewing starts from 11am: the sale starts at 1pm promptly!
  • Anyone seeking to offer bees for sale at the auction must have them inspected by the Seasonal Bee Inspector prior to bringing them to the auction site. N.B. Any bees not inspected will be refused entry
  • Please contact the Seasonal Bee Inspector, Maggie Gill, to arrange an inspection on: Telephone/Ffôn: 07979 119373 – Email/Ebost: margaret.gill@apha.gov.uk
  • Bees for sale that have been inspected, should be bought to the auction site on the evening of Wednesday 1st May from 8.00pm.
  • All other items for sale should be brought to The Pavilion on Friday 3rd May, from 4.30pm. Note that items brought in on the Saturday morning will not be accepted, except by prior arrangement with the Chairman (contact details below) and must be brought to the auction between 9am and 10am at the latest for booking in.

Please note that this year we are in The Pavilion, rather than our usual venue, the Brithdir Hall.  The Pavilion is on the same site, behind the Go Kart building and bees for sale should be bought to the rear of the Showground offices below the Pavilion [one of the side gates will be open for access].

All enquiries to the PBKA Chairman, Jeremy Percy on 07799 698 568 or PBKA Vice-Chairman, Paul Eades on 07988 037571