Honey bees

How to identify honey bees:

  • Do they have golden brown or dark brown bands?
  • Are they slightly furry?
  • Are they formed in a clump hanging from a tree, gate post, chimney?
  • Are there thousands of them swirling around in the air?
  • Are they the same size as a house fly?

IF YES: These are honey bees.

Honey bees are what beekeepers deal with, and they come in colonies of more than 10,000 bees (clustered together about the shape & size of a rugby ball!) so you’d definitively know if you have a swarm of honey bees. A full colony will number 50—60,000 bees and will take up residence in a cavity of between 30 and 50 litres (about the size of the blue plastic recycling box in use in Sheffield).

We can collect honey bees but only if they are readily accessible and it is safe to do so. This usually rules out working high up or in loft spaces. We are all amateur beekeepers and our standard insurance does not cover us for work at high level. If:

  • you are sure they are honey bees and
  • they are easily accessible and
  • they can be accessed safely

then we might be able to help. If you consider them a hazard or severe nuisance then the Council’s Environmental Health Department may be able to help but they do charge.

If you are certain they are honey bees and we can get access to them safely and readily then we can ask one of our members to call by but you may be charged for a wasted journey if they are not honey bees or access to them is difficult. The easiest way to find a swarm collector near you is to use the BBKA website and input your postcode.

If you need further information please write us at info@sheffieldbeekeepers.org.uk and make sure you give us your full postal address, including postcode, and telephone number so that we can see if it is feasible for one of our members to call and see the bees. If you can take a good quality photo and send it with your email that would be useful too.