Swarms & Stings


Beekeepers can only help with honey bee swarms. So the first step is to identify which insects are swarming. If it is a honey bee swarm, a specialist swarm collector can come to remove it.

To confirm the type of insect swarm and find a swarm collector, please go to the British Beekeeping Association webpage.


Honey bees are generally far less aggressive than wasps and will usually only attack if they feel their nests are under threat. When a honey bee stings, the sting, venom sac and venom pump are left in the skin after it pulls away. The honey bee then dies.

It is important to get the sting out fast to minimise the dose of venom. The best way to do this is to scratch out the sting with a fingernail quickly. Then smoke the surrounding area to mask an alarm pheromone which the bee releases on stinging to call other bees for help. A quick squirt with wasp-eze or any other spray product will mask this alarm call.

Apply a soothing lotion, such as Witch Hazel or calamine lotion, to the affected area. On returning home, an ice pack or packet of frozen peas will help to reduce any pain or swelling resulting from the sting. Aspirin and anti-histamines can be taken to reduce swelling, but you should consult your GP first in case of a possible interaction with any other medication which is already taken.

Some people have allergic reactions to stings. This can range from slight swelling in the area of the sting, to a generalised itching (urticaria) or anaphylaxis (generalised shock including difficulty with breathing). You may experience an allergic reaction even if you have been stung before without having significant problems. Therefore, if you are stung, be aware of your body’s reaction and call for help if needed.

If the case that you witness an anaphylactic shock (bee sting shock), contact the emergency services immediately.

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