What is a Swarm of Bees

What is a swarm of bees, in this case honeybees?

Honeybees swarm round about June time and a third of the bees in the colony (hive) will leave with the Queen bee so you are looking at Swarmbetween 15,000 to 20,000 bees.   It happens when the hive gets overcrowded or workers have had enough of the old queen and have reared a new queen to replace her.   So off she trots and takes her entourage with her and looks for temporary lodgings.   This could be a tree, bush, edge of a house roof, lamp post etc.    From here scouts are sent out to look for a more permanent abode for the swarm to go.

Although, a swarm can sound most ‘fearful’ with all their buzzing the bees are at their most docile.  Prior to swarming the bees have been stuffing themselves with food, enough to last them for three days while they are looking round for a new place to live.  With all that food inside them it is just how you feel after having eaten a big roast dinner.Swarm on car

If you spot a swarm it is best to contact your local beekeepers and let them know where it can be found.  You can also contact the police as they will have a contact number for the local beekeeping club.

In the unlikely event you do get stung try and extract the sting without squeezing the end and then head to the nearest pharmacy for a dose of antihistamine cream as in the majority of cases all you will suffer is a slight bump on the skin and itchiness around the site of the sting.  You will also be in the best place if you suffer any adverse reaction to the sting.

For more bee facts click HERE

10 thoughts on “What is a Swarm of Bees

  1. That is very scary indeed, I would feel under threat if I encountered a big swarm of bees like that or they come and settled on my car, house roof or outside lampost or on my wall in my garden, I remember when I was 10 hearing swarms of bees in the forest swarming round there hive, but thank god we were in groups and were not anywhere near them

    1. Hi Sam, thanks for your comments as it is much appreciated. If you were out and about and came across a swarm the best thing is to leave it alone and tell a local beekeeper where it is as he will thank you for letting him get some free bees.

      Thanks,

      Geoff

  2. Wow! My friend found one of those a few years ago, but did not know why the bees were doing what they are doing. Some people freak out and start spraying the swarm with all sorts of bad stuff, but they called a local apiary and those people came by to collect the swarm. Great info!

    1. Hi Irma, thanks for your comment as it is much appreciated. They are a bit scary if you are unaware of what they are and they are very warm inside of them if you put your hand into it. Gathering swarms is how beekeepers get their bees for free lol.

      Thanks,

      Geoff

  3. I’m a firefighter and we make bee calls from time to time. It’s funny because I have made a bee call where there was a swarm almost in the exact position you show in that picture where they’re congregated at the corner of the bumper. I wonder what it is about that corner, lol. But you’re right. They were very docile and not aggressive at all.

    1. Hi Eric, thanks for the feedback as it is very much appreciated. I hope your station has the phone number of your local beekeeping group so that you can get the bees collected when you are called to deal with a swarm. Always try and confirm beforehand that the insects are honeybees and not wasps or hornets as they require a different kind of handling and definitely are not docile lol. I think it is the shape of corners that attract them although I have seen them on plate glass windows in the middle of London so I will have do some ‘digging’ on that one. Thanks for the question!

      Geoff

  4. Wow! Thanks for educating us on “What is a swarm of bees.”

    The image you have of the car with the swarm of bees on it looks quite frightening!

    1. Hi Lawrence, thanks for your feedback as it is very much appreciated.

  5. Aaron

    Interesting read… I haven’t seen a swarm of bees yet however I would like to know what do these beekeepers do about a swarm of bees? How are beekeepers prepared to not get stung? I feel like this information could help people who aren’t beekeepers.

    1. Hi Aaron, thanks for your comments. To a beekeeper a swarm of bees means ‘free’ bees unless they have happened to have swarmed from the beekeepers own apiary. So the beekeeper collects them and re-homes them in an empty hive that he has prepared just for this eventuality. When working with bees most beekeepers wear an all in one bee suit which zips up an stops the bees getting into your clothing and it will also have a hood with a veil to protect the face. We all get stung as some time or other but we try to avoid it if we can, not for our sake but for the bee. A bee sting has a barb on the end of it and stays in whatever is stung and when the bee moves the sting drags the bees abdomen out and the bee dies.

      Geoff

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