An image of a cluster of bees in spring
Cluster of bees in spring

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What are bee swarms?

A bee swarm is the result of the natural response to the reproductive process in bees occurring in the wild and in managed hives. It is a normal process for bees to swarm often in earl Spring and Summer in Canberra. Beekeepers who manage will reduce the risk of swarming through proper management techniques. It is the availability of thin nectar and ample pollen which create the ideal conditions for bees to swarm.

Do I have a swarm in my yard?

Once the bees leave their original home they will fly to another location and sometimes just a few metres from where they started. Often they will move to a tree, wall, fence, house eaves, or in rare cases on a motor cycle!

“Witnesses said it looked like lingering confetti or a ticker-tape parade”.

An image of bee swarm on the move
A Bee Swarm beginning to cluster on a motorbike

The sight of bees swarming can be unnerving to people yet it a sting is unlikely as they’ve just gorged themselves on honey before departing. Once the swarm settles though they can become less docile after a couple of days.

An image of a bee swarm which has formed a cluster
This photo above shows a bee swarm which has now clustered and will be taken to a safe location. SMH Nov 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should I be worried

Watch as this skilled apiarist encourages all of the bees into the Nucleus box and she isn’t wearing any protective equipment.

Not really though you shouldn’t unnecessarily bother them and DON’T SPRAY ANY POISON!

What should I do if there is a bee swarm in my yard?

Once bees have clustered they will look for a cavity to setup their new colony often within a few hours. Ideally you call the ACT Beekeepers Association as soon as you see a bee swarm.

We need to know some information like how long have they been there also what size is the cluster and what height off the ground is the cluster.

How much does it cost to get rid of a bee swarm?

A bee swarm cluster on a branch at chest level is very different to bees which have been living in your wall for a few years. The time taken to remove clustered bee swarms are range between 30 minutes to a full day. Bees in your wall may require the cutting out of plasterboard therefore we call this a cutout. It is advisable to proceed with a cutout as this removes the bees and the wax. There could be kilos of wax in your wall and this represents a significant fire hazard.

So how much does it cost to remove a bee swarm? Some beekeepers will do it for free and then on-sell the colony once they have checked it for disease therefore obtaining a saleable product and have done the community a service while others charge for petrol.

Best to make a few calls, save the bees and protect your property, you never know, you may find fascination in bees just like we have and end up keeping bees yourself!