Swarms and Swarm Collecting

At this time of year we get a lot of queries from members of the public about swarms of bees. One noticeable trend has been the number of reports concerning bees found in the roof or facias of buildings, bird boxes etc. This may be the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum), which is a recent visitor to the UK, but is becoming more common.

Unlike other bumblebees which tend to nest in the ground, the Tree Bumblebee likes to live higher up, typically in bird boxes and roof spaces. Further information can be found from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Please note that we do not remove bees from buildings. Nor do we remove Bumblebee or Wasp nests and suggest that in respect of these, you contact Pembrokeshire County Council’s, Pest Control Service.

However, if you come across a swarm of Honey Bees in Pembrokeshire and would like advice, please contact Jeremy Percy on 07799 698568.

For further information on swarms please click here.

Swarms and swarm collecting

At this time of year we get a lot of queries from members of the public about swarms of bees. One noticeable trend, has been the number of reports concerning bees found in the roof or facias of buildings, bird boxes etc. This may be the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum) which is a recent visitor to the UK, but is becoming more common.

Bombus Hypnorum

Unlike other bumblebees which tend to nest in the ground, the Tree Bumblebee likes to live higher up, typically in bird boxes and roof spaces. Further information can be found from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

If you come across a swarm of Honey Bees in Pembrokeshire and would like it to be collected, please contact Jeremy Percy in the first instance on 07799 698568. Please note that we DO NOT remove Bumblebee or Wasp nests and we suggest that in respect of Wasps you contact Pembrokeshire County Council’s, Pest Control Service in the first instance .

800px-Bee_Swarm

Swarming!!

With the warm weather, ample forage and growing colonies, the threat of swarming looms ever larger!

Please ensure that you are inspecting your colonies regularly for swarming activity (e.g. every 5 days for unclipped queens) and do not imagine that by merely cutting out any queen cells you will solve the problem.  You need to take the correct remedial action to avoid losing your queen and half of your bees!!

We therefore recommend that you read the WBKA’s  excellent pamphlet on Swarm Control (click here) and also look at how to create an Artificial Swarm.

Aly Bee Swarm Cartoon

Swarms of bees?

At this time of year we get a lot of queries from members of the public about swarms of bees. For general information on swarms please click here.

One noticeable trend, has been the number of reports concerning bees found in the roof or facias of buildings, bird boxes etc. This may be the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum) which is a recent visitor to the UK, but is becoming more common.

Unlike other bumblebees which tend to nest in the ground, the Tree Bumblebee (see picture below) likes to live higher up, typically in bird boxes and roof spaces. Further information on dealing with bumblebee nests can be found on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.

Please note that we do not remove bumble bee or wasp nests.

Bombus Hypnorum

Collecting a Swarm – The Easy Way

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Parent Hive

Well actually this was an attempted swarm that I was able to make use of.  Returning home shortly after 12:15 pm on July 8th I saw the unmistakable sign of a swarm, a cloud of bees above one of my hives.  I was relaxed about this knowing the queen was clipped and that this must be a prime swarm attempt as I had seen the marked queen in the hive five days before, but obviously missed the queen cell they were building.  Bees would return to the hive after finding that the queen wasn’t able to fly with them but was instead in front of the hive.

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Swarm Prevention

Swarming is a hot topic at the moment and once which causes many beekeeping beginners and novices stress.

Bees can raise a queen from a day old larva (i.e. 4 days after the egg was laid) and the cell will be sealed on the eighth or ninth day after the egg was laid.  So at this time of the year inspections are recommended at four or five day intervals – we all have experience of going back a week after a previous inspection when no queen cells were seen to find that they now have sealed queen cells.  At which point the old queen has usually left the hive.

Clipping the queens wing, or wings prevents her flight and so while she may leave she will fall in front of the hive* and after a time the bees that left with her will return until the first virgin queen emerges when they are likely to leave in a cast (secondary) swarm. But this can give you a few extra days and if the the attempted swarm has been seen then you have confirmation that the bees are intent on swarming and not superseding  the queen.

The Demaree method can suppress the swarming urge – which simply destroying queen cells will not do – and requires the minimum of additional equipment.  The rather good Barnsley Beekeepers Association website has this excellent description of the Demaree method.

The more adventurous beekeepers among you may wish to try using the Snelgrove method – also described on the Barnsley Beekeepers Association website.

*this may seem cruel but remember that survival rates of swarms are very low and swarms can find homes in a location causing problems for householders. So letting them go is not a good option.