Oxleas Wood Apiary
Beekeeping & Apiary
Honeybee Swarms - Advice and Collection
Swarming is the complex social process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the Queen bee leaves the hive with a large group of worker bees, leaving behind in the hive a number of virgin Queens incubating in sealed cells. In the prime swarm, about 30 to 40% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old Queen and, normally, form a tight a cluster of bees usually within 100 meters or so of the parent hive.
The prime swarm usually erupts from the parent hive around late morning, it can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees and, usually, within a day or so the cluster will suddenly take to the air once again and make a beeline for a new hive or nest site that can be several kilometers distance. Sometimes, and for reasons best known to itself, the cluster will return to the originating hive. Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon, usually occurring in late-April to mid-May, although occasional and secondary swarms can generate throughout the beekeeping season.
Although the bees in the cluster are preoccupied and mild-tempered, best not to disturb the cluster in any way and please do not spray the bees with an insecticide or similar because of the very real risk that any bees returning to the originating hive will contaminate and harm the colony.
Oxleas Wood Apiary will collect swarms that have clustered at reasonably accessible locations and heights - this service is generally available within the area of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and neighbouring Boroughs in southeast London. If you have a honeybee swarm contact John Large at 07971 088086 - it is helpful to send through a photograph of the swarm cluster by e-mail or text.