Swarming is the natural way that a colony of honey bees reproduces. It happens when the worker bees raise a new queen who is almost ready to emerge from her cell. The old queen and thousands of flying bees leave their colony to find a new home and form a new colony. The swarming season depends on the weather but usually starts in April and continues until mid June.
If you are a local beekeeper and would like a swarm please register with us by completing the Register for a swarm online form. Please note that when we are notified about a swarm WDBKA members get priority. WDBKA members can login to view the list of members awaiting a swarm on the Members' area page.
If you see a swarm of honey bees and need some advice or you want to have it removed, please follow the steps below. While bees are usually docile when swarming, leave them alone and keep people and pets at a distance.
Please follow these steps before you contact us:
1. What type of bees are they?
The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) web page can help you identify if it is a honey bee swarm or some other type of bee. If the bees are in a bird box, compost bin or there are multiple bees flying into small holes in a wall or lawn they are almost certainly another type of bee e.g. bumble bee or solitary bee. If it is either of these we cannot collect them, move them or destroy them. They are unlikely to be a problem and should leave after a couple of months.
Our volunteer beekeepers can only help with honey bee swarms.
For information about bumblebee nests please see: Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
2. Is it in the Winchester area?
The post code areas we cover are: SO21, SO22, SO23, SO24 and SO53. Outside these areas please use the BBKA web site to find a beekeeper in your area.
3. Where is the swarm?
We are happy to help with most swarms which are outdoors e.g. in trees or hedges. If the swarm is in the structure of a property e.g. eaves or chimney breasts or in a potentially hazardous location e.g. over about 3m high we can give you advice but are unlikely to be able to remove them.
4. Contact us if it is a swarm of honey bees:
Duty swarm coordinator: 0845 892 0570 . If we are not able to answer your call immediately, please do leave a message and we will call you back as soon as possible.
Calls to 084 numbers cost 7p per minute plus the network access charge set by the caller's network provider.
Please include your telephone number, address and details of the swarm e.g. location and size. A photo is also very helpful.