A swarm of honeybees in a tree
Honeybees nesting in a barn
A wasp nest in a shed

Swarming: the natural means of reproduction

Swarming is the natural way for honey bees to increase the number of colonies. During the swarming season (usually April to September) the queen will leave the nest with up to half of the worker bees. They land not far from the original nest and form a cluster about the size of a rugby ball and stay like this for anything between two hours and two days, while scout bees look for a permanent home. During this time they are relatively easy for a beekeeper to collect. Once the bees have collectively decided on a new nest site, the swarm takes off again and moves to their new home. Bees that have taken up residence in a permanent nest site such as the wall of a shed or a cavity in a tree are much more difficult to remove, as they will attempt to return unless taken a few miles away.
Bees in a swarm may look alarming, but they are generally quite dosile and will not sting unless provoked. The best course of action is to call a beekeeper as soon as possible and keep children and pets at a safe distance. Nests of bees can sometimes be removed, but often they are inaccessible without damage to the tree or building that they are nesting in.
If you have a wasp nest, we cannot help you to remove it. We recommend that you find a commercial pest control company.
If you have a nest of bumble bees, the best course of action is to leave them. They very seldom sting, and the nest will naturally die out during the Autumn. Bumble bees are valuable pollinators and part of the richness of our wildlife. Likewise solitary bees, which you may see nesting in holes in the ground or burrowing into the mortar in brick walls, are not dangerous and should be left where they are.
The British Beekeepers Association produces a very informative leaflet entitled "Bees and wasps in your garden" which can be downloaded here


We are an amateur organisation and do not charge for our time, but inevitably expenses are incurred so we usually ask for a donation towards petrol costs of £10 per callout. This is to recompense the person who is called. If beyond this you would like to make a donation to Dartford Beekeepers it will be gratefully accepted. If you have a swarm or a nest of honey bees, please call any of the following:

John Young 07463 742646
James Knights 07932 163619
Alan English 07581 899061
Steve Smith 07836 357162
Courtney Joseph 07899 821972

If you are unable to contact any of these, or you have a swarm outside of the Dartford area, you may also try the BBKA swarm collectors web page at https://www.bbka.org.uk/find-a-local-swarm-collector

Are they really honey bees?

Honey bee
Apis mellifera
Buff tailed bumblebee
Bombus terrestris
Red tailed bumblebee
Bombus lapidarius
Common wasp
Vespula vulgaris
Tree bumblebee
Bombus hypnorum
European hornet
Vespa crabro