Swarming is the honey bee’s method of colony reproduction. The old queen and about half of the worker bees leave their former nest and seek a new home. This usually takes place in the Spring, but can happen anytime from April to September in the UK.
To start the process, certain worker bees, called “scouts,” begin to canvass the surrounding territory for a potential new nesting site even before the swarm leaves its original colony.
A departing swarm consists of a large number of bees flying in a cloud that seems to drift along through the air. People not familiar with honey bees are generally frightened by such a mass, which can contain 5,000 to 20,000 bees, but unless a bee becomes tangled in someone’s hair, it isn’t likely to sting.
Over the course of the season, we collect a number of swarms from across North Wales. We also set up bait boxes to catch swarms near to our apiaries.
If you are lucky enough to see a swarm, don't be afraid. The bees tend to be very docile during swarming and are fully focused on finding a new home. Try and get a picture of the cluster and send it to your local swarm collector - check your local BKA website for details.