If you see a clump of bees like below, it’s probably a certainty these are honeybees.
Click on the swarm image to report honeybees.
Observing a swarm of bees is a wonderous event, should you happen to see one, enjoy it.
They are not looking to harm you so try not to panic, in fact, you’ve just witnessed honey bees reproducing. A swarm of bees are at their most vulnerable while like this, so allow them a wide berth. Honeybees are capable of stinging of course, and a single sting could result in many more occuring, the cluster calling to defend. A swarm could contain anywhere from five thousand to over fifty thousand bees so it is highly advised not to attempt to deal with this yourself, unless you are properly versed in what to do.
If a swarm lands on an object like a bench, a pillar or a branch, it may be only resting briefly before moving on again.
Scout bees will be exploring locally looking for a new home to settle, they mostly favour dry cavities of a certain volume with a defendable entrance, the kind of cavity you might find in a tree. Other cavities, far less suitable perhapes from our perspective, can also win their favour. Cavities include chimney flues, inside walls, behind fascia & guttering and even places like car engine or wheel bays.
It is prudent however to not approach a swarm and give it its deserved space, it is time to contact a local beekeeper.
PLEASE NOTE: If the bees are at an unreasonable height, (ie more than 3 steps on a step ladder), or the bees have already moved into a structure (like a roof or a cavity in a wall) or present a safety risk to the beekeeper that can not be easily mitigated, we may not be able to source you a beekeeper free of charge. In some circumstances there is need to contact a professional specialist remover, who is experienced with the issue and insured for the activity. We will advise you of this if this is the case.
Honeybee venom can cause anaphylactic shock. Click here for HSE advice.
Honeybees generally lose their barb when stinging, and die afterward. Their venom sac is attached to the barb and continues to administer venom detached from the main body. Scrap the barb out with your fingernail to prevent more venom from working its way into the bloodstream.