Swarming is the natural way that a colony of honey bees reproduces. It happens when a new Queen has been formed and is almost ready to emerge from her cell.
When they are ready to go the bees leave the hive and can appear as a cloud in the air. We tend to spot them when they are resting as a cluster with the Queen at their centre. Without her there is no future for the colony.
The resting place for a swarm can be in the most unusual of places and should not be confused with a wasp nest. Swarming bees have little interest in people when in this mode. Their priority is to find a safe place to set up their new colony, so you have little to fear from them. You should still act with caution as they are a wild insect.
Bumblebees are often confused with honeybees. However they are rounder, larger and furrier and come with a variety of coloured stripes across the end of their tails. Are they in a bird box, under the decking, in the compost?
Bumblebees are important pollinators. Leave the nests alone if possible. They will die out at the end of summer and will cause no further problems. Bumblebees rarely sting or attack people or animals and should therefore not be disturbed. There are 24 different types of native bumblebee, all of which vary in size and colour.
For more information about bumblebees go to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust Website.
Are there lots of small bees popping in and out of the wall or very small holes in the ground. Do they have a "reddy/brown" bottom? Are they almost black?
These are solitary bees, of which there are 225 species recorded in the UK and they post no threat or harm to you, your family or pets. Solitary bees are important pollinators and should be left alone. Their numbers will decrease over the summer and their nests should be left alone.
Is it bright yellow with black stripes? Very smooth, mainly yellow with black stripes? Is it in the roof of your house? Are they coming from a round nest in a tree? Is there a nest in the shed? Do they have a high pitched buzz? Are they after all things sweet? Then these are probably wasps.
Are they very big with a loud buzz? Are they black and brown with a hint of orange? Living in the roof or shed? Do they have a very big curved tail? These are European Hornets and are valuable pollinators usually found in wooden areas.
Do not attempt to move or destroy a swarm yourself. Such attempts could put you at seriously risk.
If you belive you have a swarm of honey bees (as identified above) then it's time to contact your local Swarm Collector.
Visit the The British Beekeepers Association website, Enter your postcode and you'll be given your local Swarm Collectors details.
This part of website is to help you find out what kind of insect you have and therefore what to do about it. The most common insects are honeybees, bumblebees and wasps. There are other kinds of insects that are confused with these.