Beekeeping in May is a serious business. The hives that have made it through the winter are now growing a pace and it is up to the beekeeper to remain vigilant to prevent any swarming. Swarming is perfectly natural for honey bees. It is their way of increasing their population and chances of survival.
When the weather is right and an abundance of food is available the hive can become congested with the sheer amount of bees and lack of space to store honey. We try our best to provide enough room for the queen to lay and for the workers to store their food but sometimes even this will not quell their desire to swarm. Weekly inspections are done to search for signs so that the beekeeper can take appropriate action. If a swarm is lost we can say goodbye to a honey crop and unless the bees are captured and re-homed there is a chance that they won’t survive.
When a swarm leaves a hive they find somewhere to cluster. Scout bees then search for a suitable new home. Once this has been achieved the swarm will take to the air and fly immediately to their new address. Honey bees do not live underground or in bird boxes. If you see bees in either of these locations they are going to be one of the species of bumble bee or solitary bee. We have over 260 species in the UK.
So if you see a swarm please ring Newbury Beekeepers Association. We have swarm co-ordinators located all over our district and can always find a beekeeper to come and rescue a swarm. Visit newburybeekeepers.org.uk/swarms for swarm coordinator contact details.
Sadly our members are not insured to remove bees from within the fabric of a building so it is so much easier if we can get them whilst they are clustered.
Newbury & District Beekeepers Association