From April until July each year, the Isle of Wight Beekeepers’ Association receives many calls about bee swarms, which it is happy to collect.
Swarming is a natural instinct for honeybees for a number of reasons; primarily that it ensures the survival of the colony by dividing it. Roughly half the bees remain in the hive with a new queen while the remainder take off with the old queen to found a new colony.
Soon after leaving the hive, the swarm settles in a dense cluster while scouts fly off to search for a new nest site. Once a site is agreed, the whole swarm takes off for its new home. The cluster can remain in one place for quite some time until a new site is found.
Although the sight and sound of thousands of bees can seem alarming, a swarm is rarely dangerous unless provoked. It is best to stand back and watch, and contact the IWBKA’s swarm co-ordinator, Dave Cassell. One of our experienced beekeepers can come and safely collect the swarm.
By calling us, you are helping these amazing creatures survive and your help will be greatly appreciated.
For more information phone Dave Cassell 07919244080
Are they honeybees? Even a small swarm will consist of several thousand bees but fewer than this are likely to be bumblebees or wasps.
About the Quarr Teaching Apiary
The Isle of Wight Beekeepers Association Teaching Apiary officially opened last month and is located at Quarr Abbey. In 2010, the Chapter asked the association to take over the running of their apiary and in return it was able to install its own hives and use the apiary as a teaching facility, helping new beekeepers with basic, practical skills
Image courtesy Jon Oakley, Hampshire & IW Wildlife Trust
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