One of the main benefits of bees, alongside their status as pollinators, is that they produce honey. Many of our members sell their honey – it’s worth looking in farm shops and in the Indoor Market in Durham, as well as at the country fairs.
However, some people are nervous of bees, especially if they swarm. Usually, bees that have swarmed are very calm as they are full of honey that they gorge on just before they leave their hive – so as long as you leave them alone they won’t bother you. If you think you have a swarm then you can contact the council who should be able to refer you to a beekeeper, or you can go to https://www.bbka.org.uk/swarm. However, please check first that they are honey bees – beekeepers can’t help with wasps, bumblebees or any other type of insect other than honey bees. A honeybee swarm will usually be fairly large (bigger than a football) and honey bees are small and short bodied compared to wasps, but slimmer than bumblebees. See image below for honey bees:
See image below for a bumblebee:
There is now a good online swarms guide produced by the British Beekeeping Association, which also publishes a national map of local beekeepers capable of helping with swarms. Go to https://www.bbka.org.uk/swarm and go through the first 3 easy steps. When you’re sure you’re looking at a swarm of honey bees the 4th section is an interactive map providing contact details of local swarm collectors who might be able to help.
Identifying and reporting Asian hornets – please go to this national guidance page published by the British Beekeeping Association. An ID sheet and poster can also be downloaded from here. DBKA’s Asian hornet action team leader is Ian.firstname.lastname@example.org.