Honey Bees are not only a protected species but vital for pollination of crops and many flowering plants. A swarm of bees is very unlikely to sting. Swarms in the New Forest normally occur between April until mid July and it is their means of colony reproduction.

The most common insects are honeybees, bumblebees and wasps. There are other kinds of insects that are confused with these. This section aims to help the general public tell them apart and what to do after that.
How to recognise a swarm
When bees swarm, they will gather in a ten to twenty metre area and will try to cluster on a branch or bush or even under the eaves of a roof. This will continue for an hour or so, but they will eventually settle down and the large hanging cluster of bees will be clearly visible - this is a swarm. 

What will a swarm do
In this state the bees will be docile and should be quite easily be collected by a beekeeper.  A swarm is usually a temporary phenomenon as the bees will be sending out scouts to look for a permanent home.  When a new home is found, usually within 24 hours, the bees will fly off to start a new colony.

New Forest Beekeepers' Association has a list of experienced beekeeping members who have indicated their willingness to attempt collection of honeybee swarms in the New Forest area.

Please ensure that you need help with a swarm of honey bees rather than bumblebees or wasps. If you don't know what type of insects you have please click on the following link:

British Beekeepers' Association Swarm Advice

Association members will only collect honeybee swarms from the New Forest area. You will need to supply the exact location of the swarm and most beekeepers will only remove swarms that are easily accessible e.g. from shrubs or small trees in a garden. If a swarm is high up in a tree, or located underneath house tiles, in a chimney or in any other void, it is unlikely that recovery of the swarm will be possible.

Association members will require reimbursement of their expenses incurred in collecting a swarm e.g. travelling costs, remember these are volunteers helping everyone. 

If you have a swarm in your garden and would like it collected, please contact either

Roy Charman on 02380 843708   07538 355 132

Your call will then be passed to a swarm collector in your area.

Important!  Please make sure they are Honey Bees, or be prepared to send a photo to the collector when you call.

We DO NOT deal with wasps or other insects.  However, the above organisations do have a a list of a small number of beekeepers who are also pest controllers.  They may be more sympathetic towards the bees than other agencies.  Alternatively, you may contact New Forest District Council Pest Control Department as above, or a commercial pest control company available through 'Yellow Pages'.