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The Beekeepers' Year

Swarming Information

Public Information

From the beginning of May to about the end of July, one of the main activities for a beekeeper is swarm prevention. Swarming is the way that honeybees multiply the species and consists of a Queen honeybee leaving the original colony accompanied by, on average, about 15-20,000 other bees. As a result the original hive is depleted of foraging bees and honey production is slowed considerably. This is bad enough for the beekeeper, but what does it mean to members of the public who are unaware of this swarming habit by bees?.

Answer- Most of the time absolutely nothing.

That's right, swarming occurs in nature during this time every year and to 99% of the population it goes on unnoticed. However, just occasionally we become aware of a sound like a train in our garden and what looks like a huge dark cloud descending from the sky. You've guessed it, it's a swarm of bees arriving. After what seems like an eternity, (but is only about 10 to 20 minutes), the bees settle on a bush or tree and hang there like a huge rugby ball. Now it's alright for a beekeeper to rub his hands in glee at the thought of a nice prime swarm, but what about us nice, normal human beings that have never seen this before and are generally terrified of the thought of this thing landing in our garden, what do we do?.

Answer-"Don't Panic"

When a swarm of bees arrives in your garden, they are laden with honey and are "usually" very placid. There is very little chance of them stinging you, as long as you leave them well alone.

What do I do about them?

The main thing is not to approach or annoy them. If it is in your garden and away from members of the public, contact a local beekeeper (list on page for local beekeepers for swarms for Ayrshire). If you cannot manage to do this, please contact your local Environmental Office, who will be able to assist you. If all else fails, contact your local Police Office, who may have a list of local beekeepers, whom they can contact.

However, if the swarm is anywhere near members of the public, particularly children, contact your local Police Office immediately and prior to their arrival try to ensure that no one approaches or disturbs the swarm.

"Remember, it is unlikely that you will get stung, but please do not approach them if you don't have to."

Prime swarm in tree
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