Help & advice on dealing with swarms

To find a local swarm collector, please visit the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) Swarm removal search: bbka.org.uk/swarm

The BBKA ‘Find a local swarm collector’ page lets you search by postcode to see the phone numbers of local beekeepers on the swarm list, who have indicated their willingness to collect swarms of honeybees.

The Cornwall Beekeepers Association (CBKA) cannot accept responsibility for any loss, damage or injury to persons or property resulting from the use of this list – anyone collecting a swarm does so as an individual.

What do swarms look like?

Before contacting any of the beekeepers on the list, please try to check that what you have is a swarm of honeybees, rather than some other type of flying insect, as shown below:


When honeybees swarm, they will usually cluster around the queen in a bush or on a branch of a tree, although you could find them on a garden bench or inside a chimney. Any of the beekeepers on the swarm list will be very happy to collect such a swarm for you, dependent on the location of the swarm.


These wild bees, known and loved by most people, are gentle creatures that tend to build nests which only number in the low hundreds at most. If you happen to discover a nest of bumblebees, or solitary bees, in your garden, then consider yourself lucky! The best advice is to leave them alone – they are not seeking to sting you (some solitary bees don’t even have stingers) and most likely won’t be there for very long. However, if they simply must be moved, you may find there are a few beekeepers who would be able to help, rather than see the nest destroyed.


When people say they don’t like bees because they’ve been stung in the past, most often it turns out that what they actually dislike and have been stung by is a wasp. These are the pesky creatures who chase after you and try to ruin your picnic. Beekeepers generally dislike them for similar reasons, as they rob beehives of honey and can kill both bees and their larvae. Whilst no beekeeper will wish to collect a wasp nest, you may find a few who are willing to help dispose of one.


Our native European hornets (Vespa crabro, pictured left) are relatively docile and only likely to become aggressive if their nest is threatened. However, the threat of invasion to Britain by the Asian hornet (Vespa velutino), which predates honey bee colonies, is very real, and something many beekeepers are concerned about. If you spot a hornet or hornet nest which you suspect may be the Asian hornet, then please notify the Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) immediately using their online monitoring form. NNSS Identification sheets for the Asian hornet are available.