Swarms of bees!

I think I have a bee problem!

You have just spotted a lot bees in your garden, bird box, compost bin or roof and don’t know what to do next.

A swarm can look terrifying but when newly “swarmed” they are at their least aggressive. They will only sting when they get tangled in hair or clothing.

The first step is to identify whether the collection of insects you believe are swarming are in fact honey bees. Louth District Beekeepers (LDBK) are only able to remove honey bee swarms and specifically can only remove the swarmed bees if they are reasonably reachable.

Honey bees are smaller than bumble bees and vary in colour, some can look very dark, whilst some are golden brown. Honey bees are furry, have large eyes and have bent antennae. If you spot honey bees that have swarmed they will settle somewhere in a cluster, this cluster will contact thousands of bees. If you see a few dozen bees around plants, bushes or trees, this will be that the bees are foraging, this is not bees swarming.

Most likely the Tree Bee, a small bumble bee that has only been in the country a few years and seemed to arrive in our area in large numbers in 2013. These are not a problem if they get into your roof space as, unlike honey bees, the colony will die out in the autumn. If you first notice these bees in June it is because the virgin queens are leaving the colony and there is great excitement with 20 to 30 bees flying close to the entrance hole. This bee also favours compost bins and roof tiles near to the guttering.

Some myths and a few facts. It is not illegal to destroy bee colonies, bees are not protected by law, I mention this as worried individuals have called me after being told by pest controllers that they cannot help due to the law. It is undesirable to destroy bees if they can be moved but that isn’t the same thing.

Smoking will not remove bees from a property, one lady informed me that a “beekeeper” had tried to smoke bees out of her property but all that happened was the room required redecoration!

BBKA beekeepers (us on this web site) are insured to assist in the removal of bees from a property but not within a building or above a safe working height. This is entirely voluntary and no charge can be made for the service. Some people do offer a donation to the funds and that is gratefully received but that is a personal choice. If a BBKA beekeeper tries to charge you for the removal of bees please inform the BBKA.

Local councils no longer have pest control people to assist with the removal of bees and wasps. We have an excellent working relationship with Lincspest Ltd (01790 752825) as they are sympathetic towards conservation and try to avoid the destruction of wildlife whenever possible. We have designated members who can collect swarms of honeybees if they are causing a nuisance. You can also consult the BBKA official swarm collectors list here.

Your local beekeepers for swarm control :-

Ray Clayton 01507 605773 LN11 0GN (Louth and surrounding areas)
Louise Home 07801 657591 LN11 9QT (Louth and surrounding areas)
Terry Dynan 07742 446615 (Cockerington, Yarborough)
Guy Willey 07974 231054 LN13 (Alford)
Will Hamilton 07950 286792 LN11 9BJ (The Wolds)
Dale Gibson 07428 343107 LN11 7JY (Alvingham, Saltfleet & surrounding areas)
Frans Lohman 01507 605407 LN11 (Louth and surrounding areas)