BBKA Forum

British Beekeepers Association Official Forum 

  • Advice if you're on the swarm collection list

 #39  by DianeBees
 21 Jul 2018, 09:12
Always ask for a photo.
If they can't get a photo then ask them to find someone who can.
Ask them to email it to you rather than text.
It'll save you a trip to look at their bees/wasps/bumbles.

The main reason for asking for a photo via email is that you can include information in your reply to direct them to the bumblebee conservation site and other places, or list a pest controller if it's wasps that they want removing.
This is much easier done via email than on text I have found.

Ask questions and always listen carefully to the answers.
I've had a call this year to bees in a bird box. I assumed bumblebees because it's always bumblebees in a bird box.
The lady told me she knew what honeybees were and then told me how big the bird box was - and yes it was honeybees going into a bird box. They couldn't fit in though so went and clustered on a hedge.
 #136  by AdamD
 26 Jul 2018, 14:13
I've had many calls where the caller insists she/he has honeybees when they are in fact bumblebees. Bombus Hypnorum - the tree bumblebee - is relatively new to this country and likes bird boxes or the roof space of a house. I had a call a year ago from a friend who insisted that he had honeybees in a bird box. I didn't believe him until he sent me a photo; it was a box for a Little Owl so much bigger than a tit box as we usually see and it was stuffed with honeybees.
 #139  by Patrick
 26 Jul 2018, 23:10
Another tip if called to a swarm not in an obviously accessible spot (particularly in or around buildings) is to ask if they have already had a beekeeper look at them.

If it involves looking up to see them emerging from behind cladding or a soffit maybe, a swarm or established feral colony is often only noticed by chance rather than immediately it arrives. To the person it will always have seemed they have only turned up.

Once it has established within structure, a swarm should be considered a feral colony and may not be the mild mannered simple job a swarm collection might be.

They are quite likely to greatly resent the removal operation. I personally refuse to start dismantling houses to retrieve bees and it is not uncommon to have householders try serial beekeepers to find one who will, for free , as they want them gone but don’t want to pay a pest controller.

Never feel pressured to attempt a colony or swarm retrieval you are not confident of, especially working at height. It’s all too easy to get carried away (on a stretcher).

This was a Public Safety Announcement ... :lol:
 #141  by AdamD
 27 Jul 2018, 14:07
I happen to be going to look at what is probably a feral colony in a house tomorrow. The bees are apparently going in through an old piece of timber in the wall of the house and are possibly between the first and second floors - somewhere. I am known to the owner of the house hence his call to me. However I am none too keen on lifting up the floorboards to extract it - if that's where it is. Ask me on Monday if I was daft enough to get stuck in!
 #146  by DianeBees
 28 Jul 2018, 12:29
The lady who has bees in the bird box we'd collected a swarm from is concerned the bees are going to upset her neighbours and want the box removed.
It took two people to put the box up - with two ladders. So it'll need the same to come down but with the added complication of there now being bees in the box.

It's quite a way up, and sat on shelf brackets - so in theory this can be undone and then it'd be a case of fixing a rope to it and lowering it down. But it's in quite a small yard and I'm not good on ladders.
 #147  by Jim Norfolk
 28 Jul 2018, 18:56
Over the years I have made a number of attempts to remove bees from various structures, on my own or with others, sometimes succesfully, often not. The only ones that worked were where complete combs could be lifted out cleanly and tied into frames.
 #151  by Patrick
 28 Jul 2018, 22:03
A good sense check is that the BBKA public liability insurance generally covers swarm collections but not apparently when an Assessor of any subsequent claim deems it to have been caused by a "reckless act".
 #4312  by Dave W
 28 Jul 2019, 15:43
Hi all,
I'm a swarm coordinator and collector for our area in Mid Cheshire.
Don't forget on the swarm page on this site there is a section on swarms in buildings, I always direct them to it and recommend a colleague of mine who is a beekeeper but also a pest controller! Who is insured for working at heights.
No point risking falling off a ladder for a box of insects is there and if there in a chimney or under the slates he can take it apart and do the work and put it back together ,this would be chargeable though.
Don't risk it stay safe !
 #4313  by NigelP
 28 Jul 2019, 18:37
Advice is for the BBKA to actually follow up calls they receive. I have some distant friends with bees recently setting up in their compost bin. Photo they sent me confirmed honey bees. I gave them the BBKA swarm line numner and they were promised a follow up call. Nothing.
I gave them the swarm collection number for a nearby association and again they were promised a follow up call.
Now I know not stricklty a swarm.....but deal-able.
Looks like muggin's here after consecutive 3 x 5 am starts for moving bees to heather and 2 x 4 am starts for back to back markets is going to have to have his one day off this week solving problems that BBKA and local associatio will have put down to them being bumble bees. Grrrrrr