County Limerick Beekeepers' Association

Collection of Swarms

A List of our Members who are available for the collection of swarms. (The list is at the foot of this page but please read the following.)

But first: Are they really honeybees? They might be wasps or maybe hoverflies?

From time to time a beekeeper is called out to collect a swarm of "bees" only to find there are no bees at all, only wasps or hoverflies while other times there may be bumble bees. So if you are not sure if you really do have a swarm of honeybees that could be useful to a beekeeper, please read the following and check out the links and watch the videos.


Most of the honeybees you will see in Ireland are the native apis mellifera mellifera - the Irish 'black' honey bee. The the overall impression these give is of a dark and relatively slender insect.

Here is a youtube video showing the honeybee.


Wasps tend to be unpopular with beekeepers as they will attack hives in order to take honey or grubs (bee 'embryos'). It is easy to distinguish a wasp from a bee mainly by colour: wasps are much more yellow. One could also say they are sharper in outline and with less hair.

Here is a youtube video showing the wasp. The start of the clip is best for identification but the rest is also very fascinating.

Hover Fly

Depending on the species, hover flies can be very similar in size and colour to honeybees. One really good way to distinguish them from bees however is in the way they fly. As their name suggests, hoverflies are experts at hovering and can virtually remain stationary in mid air - bees are quite good at hovering too but there will always be some moving about in the air.

Here is a video showing a species of hoverfly quite similar in appearance to the honeybee.

Hoverflies do not sting!

Bumble Bee

This is the large, fat, yellow, black and white 'fluffy' bee one often sees in decorative illustrations and childrens' books and for many people this is what they will picture when they think of a bee. In reality, there are a number of species of these in Ireland and they vary in size and colouring but none could be confused with the honeybee described above.

Here is also a link to information about swarms produced by FIBKA.

The following can be contacted if you need to have a swarm removed:

NamePhone NumberArea covered
Frank Corbett086-8505382East County Limerick/
Limerick City.
Mike Geaney087-9953539Limerick County
Neil Ryan061-380198Limerick County
Ray Keogh087-2058765Limerick County
Leslie Hartigan061-377269Castleconnell Area
Paul Brennan086-1691764Killaloe/Ballina Area
and Limerick City
Micheal Reilly061 386951
087 9372766
Murroe area
David Ryan087-9801385Limerick Area