A swarm of bees sometimes frightens people, though the bees are usually not aggressive at this stage of their life cycle. This is principally due to the swarming bees’ lack of brood (developing bees) to defend, and their interest in finding a new nesting location for their queen. This does not mean that bees from a swarm will not attack if they perceive a threat; however, most bees only attack in response to intrusions against their colony.
Additionally, bees seldom swarm except when the position of the sun is direct and impressive. Swarm clusters, hanging off of a tree branch, will move on and find a suitable nesting location in a day or two. Beekeepers are sometimes called to capture swarms that are cast by feral honey bees or from the hives of domestic beekeepers.
If you have a swarm of honey bees a local beekeeper will be pleased to come and remove it for you. It is a service offered which may or may not involve a charge. There are a large number of species of bee present in the British Isles, we are dealing here with Honey Bees, but may advise on the other species if appropriate. It’s not often necessary to remove the other species, if concerned contact your local association secretary. Take a look at the advice on our sister organisation, BBKA’s website, this might help identify what you see. http://www.bbka.org.uk/help/do_you_have_a_swarm.php Thanks to them for the information.
First, you need to check that your ‘swarm’ are indeed honey bees. A wasp’s nest, for example, will need dealing with through your local council’s environmental health or pest control department. Honey bees are much darker than wasps and if they have coloured bands on their abdomens, these are usually orange/brown or golden in colour – quite unlike the common wasp which is mostly yellow with black stripes. Bumble bees – the fat, furry looking bees – are not a cause for much concern. for information and hints on identifying what you have seen, look here – www/bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/habitats/bumblebee-nests
The swarm itself will probably be about the size of a full-size rugby ball. It is comprised of bees clustering tightly together; those bees on the outside will be moving around. In the air will be a small number of bees flying to and fro. These are likely to be the ‘scout’ bees looking for somewhere suitable to set up a permanent home. The swarm will hang in a tree or a bush or under the eaves until they have found the kind of home they want. This could be your chimney stack! So It is important to take steps to have the swarm removed as soon as you can.
Whatever you do, don’t delay. Those bees will be on the move into somewhere more secure as soon as they find somewhere suitable and by definition, will be much more difficult and potentially expensive, to extract them from.