Over the last few days, the number of calls I have had regarding bee swarms have pretty much hit record numbers.
Whilst this looks terrifying, provided you leave them well alone, you are in no danger. So why do they do this?
Simple really, they are just propagating and expanding the population.
A hive usually contains about 15,000 bees, but as the population of a hive expands, the honey store becomes overloaded and so time comes for a new Queen to hatch and move off to create a new colony.
Timing is everything and so as the hive fills, the bees know when to make preparations to leave. Worker bees start gorging themselves on the honey reserves, scout bees start looking for a suitable new home and then the new queen emerges from the specially created queen chambers in readiness to fly.
When she flies off, she emits a pheromone to guide the followers to where she is going. The followers then swirl around trying to pick up this scent – hence the clouds of random bees seen rising in the air. Once they get the scent, they follow the queen and then gather around her in a ball which could be hanging off a branch, a TV Ariel or just about anywhere. The swarm will continue to move as the queen does, guided by her scout bees until she decides the right spot is found, then the building of the nest can begin.
This is all pretty dramatic stuff and most people that call in are totally freaked out by all this – I must admit it is highly scary to suddenly have 10,000 bees hanging off your washing line!
We use several local bee-keepers to come and remove the swarms and take them to a purpose built hive which caters for the queens needs.
With this kind of weather, hot, still and pretty humid, the swarms generally are pretty mobile and may be there one minute and gone the next.
So if you see a swarm in your garden, don’t panic. Just keep away from them and do not attempt to disperse it. Best thing is to just call us at Rapid Pest Control on 07831 130636 and let us deal with it. Bees are under threat and the population is on the decline, so we very rarely have to kill them and our bee-keepers are always very grateful of new colonies.