As a beekeeper I often receive calls from people saying that “I have bees SWARMING around my bird box” which generally means that 1/2 a dozen bumblebees flying around. Most people are satisfied with the response that they are bumblebees and that they will do no harm – and that they will disperse in winter. Honeybees are smaller and thinner than a bumblebee which are fat and furry – honeybees are much like a wasp in shape but not as yellow. And a swarm consists of perhaps 20,000 honeybees which are attempting to up-sticks and move home. A definite “event” in the life of a colony as it essentially splits into two. A swarm of honeybees will not fit in the average bird box, although I have seen a colony in a large one.
If someone is worried about a bumblebee nest the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has advice on how to identify them and how to move them. The BBKA also has information on identifying bees as below.
I do collect the odd honeybee swarm. It stops them getting into chimneys or enclosed spaces where they cannot be reached when they would probably have to be destroyed. I’m sorry that I don’t deal with bumblebees or wasps. Leave the bumblebees where they are and enjoy them! 🙂
Some queens that didn’t mate have been replaced. The younger ones have been out flying and are now laying and nucs will be available soon. 🙂
I didn’t used to be so bothered about the weather but I am still waiting for many of my virgins to get going and fly but it’s not been warm enough with a cool East wind. Some maiden queens will be discarded next week when replacements are available as they are too old now. One has turned into a drone layer already.