Reporting a Swarm

Honey bees can swarm at any time from roughly mid-April to August. A swarm of bees can be a daunting sight, but swarming bees rarely sting: their objective is to find a new home as soon as possible.

Please ensure that what you have found are Honey Bees and not Bumble Bees or Wasps, etc. before contacting us, by using the following guide:

1. Honey Bees

Honey Bees are 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 (see photo above) 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

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

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 (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 the season and are unlikely to return to the same location, so if possible enjoy them for the summer.

4. Solitary bees

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, so if possible, enjoy them for the summer.

Please remember that we will NOT deal with Bumble Bees, Wasps or their nests – if a Pembrokeshire resident, we suggest that you call Pembrokeshire County Council’s, Customer Contact Centre on 01437 764551 and ask for Pest Control.


If you have looked at the above checklist, think you have a Honey Bee swarm and need advice, please contact our Swarm Coordinators –

North of the County – Jeremy Percy on 07799 698568

South of the County – Alan Johnson on 07867 988597.

Note that it may not always be possible for us to deal with a swarm collection request and a charge may be incurred for swarm collections.