Swarms – What to do!

Bees quietly swarming in the hedge

“Honey bee swarms are a natural part of the reproductive cycle of the honey bee, and although sometimes inconvenient, they pose no direct threat to health or property if dealt with correctly. ” ( BBKA )

Tavistock area swarm collection service

A voluntary swarm collection service is operated by most beekeeping groups or associations, with usually a small cost to cover petrol e.t.c.

Due to last years increased demand Tavistock Beekeepers Voluntary Swarm collection service will be requesting a minimum charge of £10 to cover fuel and other costs, this is a fraction of what it costs to look after the bees once they have been recovered and happily re-homed!

The quickest way to get your honey bee swarm collected is to contact the BBKA swarm collection service.

Click HERE  to visit the BBKA national swarm collection page.

Please read the sections simple guide sections 1 and 2, to ensure there are honey bees involved; and then enter your postcode in section 3 to get your locally registered swarm collectors contact details. This system ensures you get someone local to you in a timely manner.

The collection of a swarm requires the correct experience and equipment, and the time to do it; as collecting Swarms can be very time consuming and labour intensive. Please be aware there may not be an immediate result as honey bees are very independent and may not agree with the beekeepers intentions!

Please note some swarms may NOT be able to safely be recovered by this voluntary service, and professional advice from a pest control service may be the only option for some situations, such as chimney’s and high locations. A lot depends upon the situation.

Tavistock Beekeepers Swarm Liaison Officer (SLO) is Dr. Lea Bayly, she also advises West Devon Borough Council on bee related issues. Please ring  01822 855292 in the first instance. If no reply please try the mobile number: 0771 9090019. Daylight hours only please.

If you live nearer Okehampton, you may wish to contact Okehampton Beekeepers via their website HERE

Should a swarm appear on your property you will be offered advice in the first instance, and a realistic appraisal of the situation, please note not all swarms will be able to be recovered by the voluntary swarm collection service..

We will ask for information to determine whether the swarm is a honey bee swarm (as opposed to wasps or other insect), how long the swarm has been in the current position, how large the swarm is, and most importantly, where it is. If it is possible to collect the swarm, a member who is skilled in swarm collection will be contacted to arrange a visit to the site. A small charge may be made for this service.

Although we endeavour to save a swarm of bees whenever possible, there are some instances when we cannot help and will refer you to the Environmental Officer at WDBC pest control officer or another pest control service, where appropriate.

West Devon Borough Council WDBC Pest Control offer a pest control service through a third party contractor and NOT directly, they have told us that they do NOT normally treat bees as pests. Please contact them directly for more information 0n 01822 813600 (Customer Services)

The contractor that West Devon currently use is Country Mole and Pest Control, they can be contracted directly on 01209 314663, email CMPC@hotmail.co.uk. Their direct contact number is 0800 7313647. Other pest control service providers are available.

The most common reasons preventing us from collecting a swarm are when they aren’t bees, but wasps or some other insect, or when the swarm is too high to reach safely – for example, in the top of a chimney, at the top of a tall tree, under the eaves of a house and inaccessible from the loft or the ground, or are an established (feral) colony, or where they are a loose collection and do not exhibit proper swarm cohesion.

It is best to notify someone at the first possible opportunity as it will be necessary to set up equipment so that the swarm can be housed quickly. The swarm and the equipment will then be collected after dark, when all the foraging bees have returned to the colony.