I decided to write this page, having seen a number of other web pages offering information of various kinds about how to catch a bee or swarm of bees.
If you are thinking of catching a bee swarm, I generally advise that you leave it, unless you are a beekeeper and know what you are doing.
A swarm of bees may or may not move on by itself, but locating your nearest beekeeper or beekeeping association is the best action to take. They will have the necessary skills, experience, knowledge and appropriate hive equipment.
To find your nearest beekeeping association or group, use your local directory (book or online). Alternatively your library or local council may be able to help locate a beekeeper who can assist you.
I have been asked 'how do I catch a bumble bee queen?' several times, usually after people have
purchased bee houses specifically designed for bumble bees.
Having made their
purchase, they are keen to see the bumble bee house in use, and so they think it
would be a good idea to catch a bumble bee queen, and make it stay in the new
house they have bought for the purpose, presumably by keeping it trapped in the bee house for a little while with a dish of sugar water.
I’m afraid I do not recommend this at all, for several
My advice to you if you have purchased a bumble bee nest
box, or indeed if you have made one, is to add a little hamster bedding or
clean dry moss inside, and site the nest in an appropriate sheltered spot in
the shade, then focus on filling your garden with flowers.
You may have to wait a year or more, and note that if a mouse uses the box first, then this is a good sign – bees like abandoned rodent nests!
See my other gardening for bees gardening for bees tips here.
Here, I advise being as gentle as possible, keeping calm, and perhaps using an upturned plastic beaker – preferably transparent, to ensure you can see the bee’s legs and don’t trap their feet. Very carefully slide the beaker over a stiff piece of card.
Alternatively, you can pick up some tips from my page of advice regarding trapped bees.
Please note, wild bees are not ‘pets’, regardless of how cuddly they may look (especially bumble bees)!
If you are wanting to get a close look at bees, you could pop along to your local museum if they have a suitable collection of specimens, where it might be possible to view them beneath a microscope.
Alternatively, you could take photographs or view many of the detailed, labelled photographs of bees freely available for viewing on line.
You could also learn more by attending guided bee walks or study days, which are becoming increasingly popular with the general public.
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