top of page

"Help! I have a swarm!"

Honey Bee

IEBA Swarm Catchers

Please select a swarm catcher from your area first, if possible - thanks!

Throughout spring and summer, we start hearing from folks with a bee swarm problem – or what they sincerely believe is a bee swarm. 

Often, after we’ve loaded up our gear and traveled anywhere from a few blocks to several miles or more, arriving to find that the “swarm” is simply a lot of bees feasting on nectar from flowers or it’s wasps - disappointing for us and embarrassing for the homeowner. 

So please, before you call one of the swarm catchers from the list below, read the following information and have a look at the pictures.  We hope it will help answer the questions…ARE THEY HONEY BEES or WASPS?   IS IT A SWARM?


Honey Bees                                                                            

  • Hairy – as hairy as a squirrel!

  • Golden yellows and brown or black or dark brown. NEVER bright yellow.

  • Fly directly from landing to landing

  • A swarm will hang temporarily like a big wad from branches or maybe under the eave of a house, usually ten to twenty feet off the ground. A few “scout bees” will be seen going out to look for a suitable permanent home.

  • Honey bees will make a permanent home in hollow trees, or hollow areas of buildings (walls, attics, behind soffits) or inside other well-protected and fairly confined spaces.

  • Builds WAX comb within a found structure to store honey and raise young.

  • Honey bees “swarm” to create a new colony in a new location; about half the existing colony leaves with the old queen to start a new colony, leaving a new queen and younger bees behind in the old hive.

  • Seeing a hive swarm is quite spectacular and may be unnerving unless you know what’s going on.



  • Look bald. They have thin hair coverage.

  • BRIGHT yellow and black or mostly black (hornets), some have a small amount of red.

  • Zig-zag sideways before landing

  • Build PAPER nests to raise their young

Will build nests in hollow areas of buildings, under eaves or inside undisturbed buildings, car fenders, under yard equipment, under bricks, rocks, pieces of wood, tarps, buckets, toys, etc.  Unless the nest is very large, only a handful of wasps will be seen near the nesting area. Some wasps nest in the ground and usually have a lot of traffic going in and out of the entrance hole.

bottom of page