No one wants a house-swarming party
From late winter to early Summer, the old queen from an existing colony will gather a swarm of bees together and leave their home in search of another. This is a natural occurrence, and it takes place for various reasons, one being that the old residence was becoming overcrowded.
Once the swarm has left the old nest or hive, they will only travel a short distance (100 – 200mtrs) before they gather on a nearby tree branch, house eave or other handy structure. While bees are swarming and are clustered together, scout bees are making regular flights further afield to inspect cavities for a potential permanent home. Returning scout bees make energetic “waggle dances” on the surface of the cluster to report their findings. Eventually, worker bees will democratically decide on the best location for a new home. Interestingly, the queen has no say in where they will go.
Whilst swarming, bees are usually more docile than those living in an existing hive. There are a few reasons for this, they don’t have any stores or brood (baby bees) to defend, and also their tummies are full of honey ready to convert into wax to build new comb. Having said that, we don’t recommend getting too close or interfering with the swarm in any way.
If you would like us to remove a swarm or existing hive / nest, it’s important to know some differences before calling us out, please see below for more information and some points to consider…
A swarm is a clump of bees that is temporarily resting on its way to a permanent home.
Free or minimal cost in removal.
- The swarm will likely move on in a day or two, but there is potential for them to move to an undesired location (ie. Roof space) if not re-homed.
- Calling a beekeeper to remove quickly will lead to a more successful re-homing.
- Do not interfere with the swarm, they’ll cause no harm if left alone until the beekeeper arrives.
- A photo of the swarm and details of its location will be of help to our rescuers. For example, if a ladder is required.
- Information on how long the swarm has been there will help us determine the best method of removal. A swarm will quickly build comb, start laying eggs and storing honey, which makes for a more difficult re-homing.
A hive or nest of bees is a colony that has taken up residence in a cavity or similar and doesn’t plan to move on.
Higher costs involved to remove.
- Nest removal will be a case by case basis, a photo and phone call will be of great assistance.
- Can require minor demolition work (Often only partial wall or roof sheeting removal)
- In some cases, it will not be possible to re-home the bees, other non-destructive methods may be used to move them on, however, this may take weeks.
- Using a pest controller to kill the bees will potentially result in tens of thousands of bees and comb rotting the cavity, possibly attracting rodents and other insects.
“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” – Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee (Often misattributed to Einstein)
Please contact one of the beekeepers below who may be able to assist you:
- Paul Nash, Willyung (0403) 338 300
- Matt Barrett, Torbay (0439) 997 544
- Daniel Warne, Gledhow (0431) 510 633
- Trevor Hooper, Busselton (0456) 378 747
- Scott Ryan-Taylor, Kendenup (0400) 143 586