British Beekeepers Association


British Beekeepers Association


Swarming is the natural way that a colony of honey bees reproduces. It happens when a new queen has been formed and is almost ready to emerge from her cell.

Unlike humans the parent queen and flying bees leave their home rather than waiting for the offsping to leave and set up independently.

In preparation, honey bees gorge on honey prior to their journey in search of a suitable nesting site. When they are ready to go, the bees leave the hive and can appear as a cloud in the air. We tend to spot them when they are resting as a cluster with the queen at their centre. Without her, there is no future for the colony.

The resting place for a swarm can be in the most unusual places and should not be confused with a wasp nest. Swarming bees have little interest in people when in this mode. Their priority is to find a safe place to set up their new colony, so you have little to fear from them.  However, you should still act with caution as bees are wild insects.

If you see a resting swarm, then please contact a local beekeeper who will come and collect it. There are over 1200 BBKA members registered to collect swarms so click here to find your nearest collector.

Swarms can be badly damaged by high winds and heavy rainfall, so please do contact us as soon as possible if you see a swarm.