Wigan beekeeper urges residents to call in experts if they see swarms

Beni Dawber, who keeps his hives at Ashton Golf Club, says we are entering the time of year when people are most likely to see large numbers of bees gathering.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 3:45 pm
Beekeeper Beni Dawber

The warm weather predicted for next week also increases the likelihood of bees swarming.

Beni has already been busy removing swarms from problematic locations and taking them to his hives this spring, including removing a group of insects from a Beech Hill garden that were threatening to disrupt a VE Day party last week.

He stresses that the bees are harmless if left alone but says they will attack and sting if people provoke them or try to deal with swarms themselves.

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Instead of even thinking about doing this, they should instead contact registered beekeepers who will know what to do.

Goose Green resident Beni, who also deals with bee-related incidents for Wigan Council, said: “This week the temperature is rising again and bees only swarm when it’s above 15 degrees. They don’t forage in the cold, wind or rain.

“People shouldn’t touch them. If they do that then they will be attacked. If they’re left alone when swarming they will be OK; the bees will just cling to a tree, a lamp post or even a car.

“They might gather on the front of a house or a wall but as long as no-one goes near them they won’t do anything.

“I’ve heard of all sorts of things that people try to do: set fire to them, use bleach. That is not a good idea at all, you just need to contact a beekeeper.”

Swarming happens when bee colonies are getting too big for their current nesting sites and have to travel in search of a new home.

Sometimes new queens can also be created in the spring and that leads to colonies splitting in half as the old queen takes some of the bees with her and searches for somewhere else to set up.

Beekeepers on occasion set up artificial swarms by movinng one of their queens into a new hive or frame.

Anyone who sees a large swarm of bees can get in touch with Beni by searching for him on Facebook or emailing [email protected]

More information about the insects is also available online from the British Beekeepers’ Association website bbka.org.uk