Aim: The aim of this site is to help the Beekeeper associations (BKAs) and clubs to administer their swarm notifications, streamlining the process that connects beekeepers with swarms in need of rehoming. This should enable more swarms to be successfully rehomed; helping beekeepers, members of the public with a swarm and most importantly honeybees themselves. The site should provide a single unified process that can be adopted by any club across the UK to avoid confusion and prevent much wasted administrative time trying to locate the correct contact to phone or the correct websites to address. BKA's can either use this site alongside their already in place protocols or change their protocols ie. change the links on their website to direct straight to beeSwarm.uk and monitor run their areas through the postcodes notifications.
If you are reporting a swarm then please fill in the form. Be as accurate as you can and have a look at the guide to honey bee swarms if you are unsure what you are reporting. Your details will be posted onto the forum and hopefully, a local beekeeper or BKA will be in touch soon. If you would like to be able to update the post and see any replies then please register an account first and post your details from the form inside the member's area. You too can subscribe to the postcode area and edit your posts.
If you would like to be able to update the post and see any replies then please register an account
The site has many features that will be useful to many different people with many different roles and as is often the case there are multiple ways of using the site and achieving the same outcomes. Below is a simple guide to get you started.
The site is set up as a social media platform and is a fairly classic interface. The top yellow bar has an icon in the top left that will return you to the home page, a search bar and some notifications of messages as well as access to your profile settings.
The brown bar beneath is a menu with each of the menu items accessible by clicking with the mouse. Additional items may drop down but the top menu item is still active.
Inside the main page, you typically have 2 or 3 columns with menus on the left useful postcodes and popular items around. Your newsfeed is in the middle showing information about your subscribed postcodes and your friend's activities. Explore the site as you would any website using your mouse. There will hopefully once the site has a few users be a full android and iPhone app developed but I can only justify the ongoing costs of this when the site is being used and actually serving a purpose.
Adding a profile photo is really important because it tells the other beekeepers and the people with swarms who you are, shows that your human being and leads to an overall friendly approach to the site. This is done by clicking on the down arrow in the top right corner of your screen in the yellow header bar. The 3rd option down is to change the profile picture. Drag and drop your desired profile picture or click on the grey camera symbol to search your files for the appropriate image. Click on the save thumbnail orange button to save.
The site is set up as a social media site with 3004 groups. The groups represent each of the out postcodes for the UK. The out postcode is the 1st part of your postcode, so if your postcode is SA2 8PP then the SA2 part is the out postcode and the 8PP as the rest. In this scenario, you would join the group called SA2 to pick up swarm notifications within this area. The FAQ section has a link so you can see specific maps of each of the out postcodes as well as a really useful tool that allows you to create a list of all of the postcodes within a specific radius of you. In the above scenario you could, for instance, ask for all of the out postcodes that lie within 10 miles of SA2 8PP should you be a beekeeper living at that postcode willing to travel 10 miles to pick up a swarm. Both of these links are in the FAQ section.
To join a group or subscribe to that postcode you 1st need to find the group page. There are many ways of doing this and some work better depending on the web browser or the computer that you are on. You can try simply typing the out postcode into the brown search rectangle at the top of the page. If this doesn’t work you can go to the postcodes page, you do this by clicking on the word postcodes in the brown menu bar at the top that should turn yellow as your mouse hovers over the button. Once in the postcodes section, you can search for the postcode using the search box on the left or you can generate lists of postcodes for each of the UK areas and then select the postcodes from the middle. Once you have selected the actual postcode page you should have an option to “Join” the group and this will subscribe you. This postcode should now be in your "My group's" list on your profile and you will receive notifications posted here.
You can subscribe to as many postcodes as you like. You can subscribe at any time and you can unsubscribe at any time. If for instance halfway through the swarming season you have collected too many swarms and no longer want to pick up anymore you can close your notifications or unsubscribe from the groups but do remember to turn them on again and resubscribe for the next season. Alternatively, you can offer your help with other local beekeepers who may want an experienced person there for moral support.
You can search for your friends in the top search bar or in the People’s section, found in the top brown menu bar and request to add them as a friend. This will connect your profiles and allow you to send messages backward and forwards. It is highly recommended that if you are a member of a beekeepers Club, Society or Association (CSA) that you add your CSA as a friend as this will help them keep in contact with you specifically on be swarm related matters that are more applicable to the club than a specific postcode or set of postcodes. Anything you add to your news feed in your profile will be available to either everybody or just your friends depending on your security settings. Your CSA, for instance, may post an announcement on their wall that will come up on your newsfeed when you log in so watch this space. Feel free to post interesting stuff on your page but please keep it A) polite and B) bee relevant.
In order for this site to be effective, it needs to grow to a pretty reasonable size. The more people involved the better, so please invite your friends. There is a link at the bottom to our social media where we have Facebook and Twitter both under the handle of @BeeSwarmUK. Please add us on social media, like the pages and get involved off-site. There will be a large social media campaign in the early part of the swarming seasons in order to promote the use of the site to members of the public who might stumble across a swarm in their garden. This will be in addition to efforts to move this site up through the ranks of Google searches. When the time comes, there will be requests to post our images of swarms saying “See A Swarm- Report It” and the website address as this is the message we want to get out. We should be able to blanket social media with this message to avoid confusion and help raise the number of swarms that we can rehome. Need to have loads of beekeepers onsite first though to make sure that there are people around to respond to the swarm notifications.
Anyone with an account can report a swarm from within the member's area using the 2nd tab along on the brown menu at the top. Simply fill in the form and your details will be posted to the postcodes page. You are equally welcome to simply post the information onto the postcodes page directly, though the form will make things easier. Hosting swarm information from inside the member's area i.e. when you are logged in will result in the post being posted in your name and you will, therefore, be able to edit the post alongside people with admin privileges. Posting information about a swarm from the form page without being logged in will result in the post being made from the anonymous account and you will not be able to edit the details. You will, however, be able to post a reply to the swarm notification once you are logged in.
If you have subscribed to a postcode and a swarm notification is posted to this group you will receive an email and a pop-up notification. You can then navigate to the page and read the swarm information before responding by leaving a message. The message is to tell other beekeepers the status of the job so if you are going to drive out to the job and attend the swarm then post a note on the forum saying that you are on your way. Once the swarm has been collected please leave a message on that group forum saying that the swarm had been collected the job has been closed. If you have editing rights please at this point remove the 2nd part of the postcode leaving XXX in place and at least the 2nd half of the phone number again XXX. This would prevent anyone who has posted a swarm notification from receiving cold calls or being traced to their exact postcode. Please don’t delete swarm notifications as this is a useful way of counting how many swarms we have dealt with during the season. Most beekeepers will not have editing privileges. Please also be aware that if the notification has been posted by the anonymous account then the person reporting the swarm does not have an account and therefore will not receive messages. You will, therefore, need to use their contact details in order to contact them directly. There is no point leaving a message saying “This is my number give me a call and I will sort out your swarm!”.
We do not want to create fights so it is a simple first-come-first-served basis if somebody has responded saying they are on their way please do not go and get the swarm 1st. This site should increase the number of swarms that are reported and therefore increase the number of rehomed colonies so let’s all treat each other with respect and help each other out. If somebody is struggling with a swarm collection then please do feel free to ask for help and advice.
There are many ways of collecting swarms and there will be plenty of advice both on this site and at your BKA's websites. Please do ask for help if you are new to it and need some support and do be careful. Bad swarm collection is bad for you the beekeeper and bad for the bees. Remember that we are also providing a service, free or not it is still a service to the public.
As a responsible beekeeper, it is important that you are aware if there is disease in your area or if you are collecting swarms from outside your area you may be transporting disease into your area. traveling a long distance to get a swarm is not usually good for the bees or for the disease control so we recommend that you don't travel a long way to collect swarms and keep to a useful radius. Be very careful bringing swarms into your apiaries from a long way out as they could easily spread the disease to your entire stock. Get your swarms checked by the regional bee inspectors to prevent the spread.
Most beekeepers will come out and pick up an easy swarm for free, as there is value in the bees. If it is a colony relocation rather than a swarm, or a cut out then many will ask for a contribution to petrol or expenses. This site cannot tell you not to charge for services however we do ask that if you do charge you tell the swarm reporter early on in the conversation so that you have managed their expectation for a free service. Obviously, if you are charging then you should be declaring income to HMRC etc. etc.
If you are a Beekeepers Club, Society or Association you would want to join all of the postcodes within your area and be friends with all your members. You should contact the admin via the form at the bottom of the page as you will get admin privileges to help administer the postcode groups on behalf of BeeSwarm and play a very important role in maintaining the site information, spam and decency etc. You will receive editing privileges so that once a swarm has been reported and dealt with you can mark it as complete which will remove any personal information from the publicly available posts. If you see a post that has been a job completed, then please mark the post as closed. Please leave the post up so we can count how many swarms have been dealt with every year. You may wish to keep a record of how many swarms have been reported in postcodes that you have joined. Feel free to delete posts that are non-bee related and report users who missbehave and these can have their accounts removed and/or their access blocked. It is anticipated that spam should not be too big a problem given that each postcode will have less than 10 users making the posting of spam a pretty pointless exercise.
Feel free to use your page to communicate with your members by adding them as friends. You can post information and announcements and you can even add a post as a list of people in the queue to receive the swarms that the society collects. You are welcome to use the site to replace your currently active policy and procedure to report swarms or to use the site in parallel. It is here to help save time and effort so please use it and spread the word. If you currently have a donate link set up on your website for donations resulting from your swarm collecting activities then feel free to keep using that on your site. If donations come into the BeeSwarm site associated with your managed postcodes we will endeavour to pass them on to you at the end of the season. We want BeeSwarm to compliment your normal swarm rehoming activities, not compete with them.
The purpose of this site is for everybody to work together I would envisage that pest control companies would be using the site to post swarm notifications in order to give local beekeepers the opportunity to collect swarms before they get to a stage that pest control needs to be involved. There will however be numerous occasions where a nest is out of control and no beekeepers are able or willing to tackle it. At this point pest control is welcome to get involved but please make sure that swarm reporters are aware of any charges that you may levy prior to turning up to assist them. If pest controllers or people operating for profit are using the site then please give the not for profit beekeepers in the area at least 2 hours to respond.
This is for councils, Landscaping companies, Tree surgeons and members of the public who wish to report/edit their own swarms from inside the member's area.