Swarming is the honey bee's instinctive method of reproduction and dispersal, so it is hard for beekeepers to control. The most common type of swarming is where one colony divides from another and the parent colony continues in existence. Another kind of swarming is absconding, where the whole colony deserts a hive. This has been observed in New Zealand only since the advent of varroa mites.
After they settle, you will generally find a cluster of bees up in a tree or on furniture while they are still looking for a new home. If you find one, the best thing is to leave it alone and contact us. Bees in a swarm are not aggressive unless provoked.
Below is a photo comparing bees and wasps. European, German and Common wasps all look the same as the European wasp pictured below, they normally nest in the ground or in walls. Paper wasps can be left alone if they are not causing a direct problem.
When do they swarm?
In New Zealand most swarming occurs from late September to mid December, before the main honey flow starts and when large amounts of brood are being raised, the adult population is increasing rapidly, and food supplies may be erratic.
Who to call?