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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 5 December 2020

What should you do if you find a swarm of bees in your home?

May to July is a hotspot for bee activity – here’s what to do if a swarm of bees are in your home.

Image: Margaret Hynds O'Flanagan

NOW THAT THE summer weather is finally here, swarms of bees are becoming more visible.

This can be a worrying sight, especially for families with young children, but there is advice on how to handle the situation – and to salvage the swarm.

The Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations responds to calls from members of the public who find a swarm in their house, shed or garden who will advise on the nearest Beekeeping Association.

They can respond to calls from members of the public and remove swarms from a home and to a hive.

bees2 A box used to capture and transport swarms.

Tom Shaw, secretary of the Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations told TheJournal.ie that swarming bees are usually not aggressive, but advised against approaching a swarm.

Do not approach a swarm – always get a beekeeper to help. It is true that swarming bees are full of honey and usually are not aggressive and remember bees have to be aggravated before they will sting which is their defence weapon.

“If a bee stings you the bee dies, unlike a wasp which can give a countless number of stings.”

Finally, I get at least three calls per day about bees which usually turn out to be wasps or bumblebees, both of which never swarm and build nests.

There is a difference between bumblebees and bees:

shutterstock_516810277 Honeybees. Source: Shutterstock/Simun Ascic

Bumblebees typically make their nest underground, but some species will nest above ground. Honeybees typically make their nest above ground.

Bumblebees are fatter and have more hairs on their body and are colored with yellow, orange and black. Honeybees are more slender in body appearance, have fewer body hairs and the tip of their abdomen is more pointed.

shutterstock_655497058 Bumblebee. Source: Shutterstock/Kasabutskaya Nataliya

Shaw added that this year isn’t any busier for swarms than last year, but that we have hit a period of the year when we’re most likely to see bees in action.

Mid-May to mid July is the very active swarming period and you can get swarms before and after that date, and this year is no different to any other year.
But because we have enjoyed such excellent weather people are inclined to be outdoors and experience the swarm.

You can find a Beekeeping Association near you by clicking here or by contacting the Federation of Irish Beekeepers’ Associations: 086 2361286.

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