Report a swarm

Every year MDBA volunteers help their communities by collecting local swarms. This is a win-win deal because not only do our beekeepers get a new colony of survivor stock, but the bees get removed from unfortunate locations, are saved from being sprayed with pesticides, and the club receives a $50 donation to help with our education outreach and other programs.

MDBA members are volunteers. We are not licensed contractors and will pass on hazardous or difficult removals. If the swarm is hanging from the high voltage lines call PG&E. And if it has moved inside a building, it is no longer a swarm. Here’s a video of a structural removal – and a great illustration of why we recommend leaving structural removals to the experts.

Print & Mail Swarm Receipt Form

What to do if you have a swarm

When bees are swarming they are generally docile and show no aggressive tendencies. They will merely find a spot to gather, as a temporary measure, while they send out scouts to find a more permanent cavity as a new home. They are not too choosy about where this temporary spot will be, it could be in a tree, on a clothesline, a fence, a bicycle, or anywhere that they can land to form a cluster.
Where are they (in a tree? how far off the ground? are they inside a structure?), the size of the swarm (tennis ball, basketball, etc.), and how long it has been in this spot. Are they truly honey bees? Or are they wasps or yellow jackets. The MDBA only removes honey bees.
Use the MDBA Swarm List to find a volunteer beekeeper in the Mt. Diablo region. The MDBA requests a $50 donation for swarm removal services. This money is used for MDBA educational and community outreach programs. If you don’t find someone near you, local officials usually have lists of local beekeepers who have been willing to collect swarms in the past. Check with your local police, animal or vector control, or wildlife museums.
There is something magical about a swarm as the bees swirl round before clustering in a ball. And watching a swarm being hived by a beekeeper is an experience that you will never forget.
All too often, bees get bad press. Honey bees are not the same as the wasps at the summer picnic. You will, by now, know differently, as you will have seen firsthand just how docile and truly fascinating these little insects can be.

credit: Hannah Lee

Do you have a swarm – Flow Chart

Find a swarm collector

Volunteer swarm collectors and beekeepers are available to help you with  your swarm. Click the link to download the latest list of swarm collectors in your area or click on one of the map pins closest to your location.

Download Swarm Removal List

Become a Swarm Collector

Collecting swarms can be fun and even easy at times. It is a great way to educate the public about the value of bees, the secrets of their lifestyles and the relative harmlessness of the swarm. If you are an MDBA member, meet the criterion for participation and would like to be added to the Swarm List, please send an email to Dermot Jones, with the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Your contact phone number
  3. Which cities you are willing to travel to in order to pick up swarms

This is a volunteer activity for which MDBA asks a donation of $50.

Please note:

  • Do you perform professional swarm removals and charge for your services? If you sign up to be listed on the MDBA website, your participation indicates you’ve agreed to waive your business fee for MDBA swarm calls.
  • If, during the course of the year, you find you have no more room for swarms, please call or email Dermot so that you can be removed from the Swarm List.


MDBA volunteer Swarm Collectors must be current members of MDBA and have been members of MDBA for two (2) consecutive years. Volunteers need to attend an orientation meeting on Swarm Collection.

Here are some questions you should ask when you receive a swarm call from a member of the public:

  1. Thank you for calling and for saving these bees.
  2. Where is the swarm located?
  3. How big is it (grapefruit; basketball)?
  4. Can you see any comb (wax)?
  5. When did the swarm arrive?
  6. Is the swarm on your property or someone else’s?
  7. I am a volunteer with MDBA and we offer swarm removals as a community service but we do request a $50 donation for the removal.

Neighboring County swarm resources

Print & Mail Swarm Receipt Form