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Barnsley Beekeepers Association
Bee keeping in Barnsley, South Yorkshire

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Swarm Collection

We may be able to help collect some honey bee swarms however we regret that Barnsley Beekeepers do not offer a formal swarm collection service. Our Association is made up of private individuals who are often at work or may be away. We are not qualified or insured to carry out “works” on properties and are not pest control experts. However we may be able to help with collecting swarms of honey bees from time-to-time. Our ability to remove swarms from premises depends on the availability of individual beekeepers within the association.

Key Points



Only beekeepers will deal with swarms (pest controllers will not come out for a swarm).

Barnsley Beekeepers Association:  info@barnsleybeekeepers.org.uk

Sheffield Beekeepers Association: info@sheffieldbeekeepers.org.uk

Rotherham Beekeepers Association: http://www.rotherhambka.talktalk.net/contacts.html

Note: A pest controller (private or council) will not come out for a swarm! Swarms are transient and usually move one.

Dangerous nests

If you believe that you, your family, your property or your animals are at risk from bees or wasps, call you local pest control department* (see below) or search for a local pest control company on the internet.

Remember a pest controller will only come out for an established nest.

1. Barnsley

Barnsley Council

Regulatory Services, PO Box 602. Barnsley, S70 9FB

Office hours are 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday.

Telephone: 01226 772468

Fax: 01226 775699

Email: regulatoryservices@barnsley.gov.uk

Note: Barnsley Council may do not come out for bees (even established nests).

2. Sheffield

Environmental Services

Gayton Road, Pitsmoor, Sheffield, S4 7DB

Telephone: (0114) 203 7410 or (0114) 203 7411.  The lines are open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Fax: (0114) 203 7417

Email: environmentalservicesadmin@sheffield.gov.uk

3. Rotherham

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Community Protection Unit, Reresby House, Bow Bridge Close, Rotherham, S60 1BY

Telephone: 01709 823118 from 8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday

Email: env.health@rotherham.gov.uk

* It is likely that your local council will make a call out charge or charge per nest removed.

If your local council will not come out to deal with a bees or wasp nest, you can call a private local pest control company. An approximate call out fee is around £50.

Below are a few tips on swarms and bee nests:

What type of bee?

If you find something that resembles a nest of bees, what type of bee are they? Do they look like any of the following?

Honey bees

Typically black and brown, sometimes with orange bands on the abdomen. They form swarms from May to July and can set up home in wall cavities, roof spaces, chimneys and beneath eaves.

A swarm is short lived and rarely stays in situ for more than a couple of days. A colony however may last for years.

Beekeepers may be able to collect swarms if they are accessible. Colonies within wall cavities and chimneys are often difficult to remove and usually require the assistance of the local pest control department.



Unmistakably black and bright yellow. They live in papery colonies made from wood pulp.

Wasps don’t swarm and their colonies only last from  spring through to the autumn before dying out as the new queens leave the nest.

It is said that in any urban or suburban area you will be less than 20 m away from a wasp nest. They often go completely unnoticed and rarely cause harm. They will become defensive if interfered with.

Beekeepers rarely deal with wasp nests therefore the local pest control department is the best bet for the removal of awkwardly located nests.

Bumble bees

Bumble bees are typically characterised by their often large, hairy bodies, and a more ponderous  (“bumbling”) flight. Of the 24 species in the UK, their size varies widely. Their colour ranges from bold black and yellow with white or buff tails, to black and copper or ginger and buff.

Bumble bees make their nest in a variety of places including underground cavities beneath hedges, compost bins, cavities beneath sheds and roof spaces. Their colonies  last through from spring to late summer before dying out as the new queens leave the nest.

Beekeepers sometimes help to relocate bumble bee nests. If possible it is best to leave a bumble bee nest alone and clear away any nest material or block off access holes when the nest has died down in the autumn. They will rarely cause harm unless provoked. Awkwardly located nests that may affect children or farm animals should be dealt with by the local pest control department.

What type of nest?

If you can see any of the nest what does it look like?

Bumble bee nest

Bumble bee nests vary is size from  small nests the size of a grapefruit to ones 40-50 cm in diameter. They are often under ground or in cavities such as compost bins and bird boxes. The nest is hard to see, but bees may be seen entering and exiting a access hole.

Wasp nest

In the spring, wasps can often be seen chiseling wood from garden furniture, leaving scrape marks behind. They use this wood to make pulp to build their papery nests. The size of wasp nest depends on the species. Some nests may be the size of an orange while some cam be a metre across.

Honey bee swarm

A honey bee swarm is not a nest. It is a temporary gathering of bees looking for a new home. They are often seen during May and June clinging to branches in bushes and trees or sometimes on gates and walls.

This is what a beekeeper will often help with removing (if accessible).

A swarm shouldn’t be interfered with and will fly off once it has found a suitable home.


Wild honey bee colony

A wild honey bee colony may be built in a cavity or (as in this picture) hanging from the roof of an out building. Honey bee colonies are perennial, lasting all year and from one year to the next.

Wild colonies are difficult to re-home. If they are in an inappropriate location or in a position that may put people or animals at risk, the local pest control department is the best place to go.