Why do Honeybees Swarm?
The queen is the only bee capable of producing eggs. For the honeybee to reproduce its species it is necessary for new queens to be produced to start a new colony.
Normally a queen produces a pheromone called queen substance which is passed round the workers and prevents them producing a new queen. However, if the queen becomes old or dies, or if the colony becomes very populous, workers receive too little queen substance.
In this case, they will then start to rear new queens. This often happens in late April, May or June. Once a new queen has been reared, the old queen leaves the hive with a proportion of the colony. This is a swarm.
The swarm often clusters on a branch. Scout bees fly out to seek a new home in a hollow tree. Then the swarm will then move to the new home.
What to do if you see a swarm?
It is unlikely that the swarm will stay in a branch, It will probably find a new home in a few days. To arrange for a swarm to be removed, please contact your local beekeeper.
To be sure that it’s a swarm you have found, please check the BBKA Do You Have a Swarm? web page. When you are reasonably certain that it’s a swarm, to notify a local beekeeper use the telephone numbers below:
Please Note: Only contact us for swarms located in Derbyshire. If you are not in Derbyshire, details of your local swarm collector can be found here
For swarms in the Burton on Trent and South-East Derbyshire area, contact:
- Rosie Featherstone Tel. 01332 862073
For swarms in the Uttoxeter and South-West Derbyshire area, contact:
- Kathy Lamb Tel. 01889 562196
For swarms in and around Derby contact:
- Phil Houckham Tel. 01332 518279
For swarms in central and north Derbyshire,contact:
- Graham Roberton Tel. 01629 823105
- Judith Orchard Tel. 01629 630202 or