Healthy bee colonies will swarm in the spring, sending out about half of their bees to establish a new colony. The first step in this process is formation of a swarm, which will temporarily settle on a tree (or similar exposed location) while they pick a permanent home. This is a good time to collect them and home them into a beehive, before they settle in the walls of someone’s home.
If you are very close to Neutral Bay, I will generally collect the swarm at no cost. If you are farther away, I’ll charge for my travel time. If you are more than an hour away, you can try https://www.beekeepers.asn.au/swarms to find a local beekeeper.
To book arrange collection, please text your address and a photo of the swarm to 0423 298 841
I am currently donating swarms bees to commercial beekeepers who have lost their hives to fires last year and to the current Verroa infestation.
For your curiosity, here are some more interesting swarm collections I have done:
The Maritime Museum called me when a swarm of bees settled on the stern of the HMAS Vampire, in the middle of Darling Harbour!
I am pointing to the bees in this photo. I wonder where they came from… Is someone keeping bees on a nearby rooftop?
Here a swarm has settled between two doors in Beacon Hill:
This is a typical swarm in size, picture-perfect with the flowers, in Gordon:
This is one of the largest swarms I have ever collected, in Carlingford:
This is a smaller swarm, it was a the SECOND swarm from the same hive, which occasionally happens when the colony is especially strong.
Below photos are from a call-out to the University of New South Wales, UNSW:
I moved the queen into the wooden beehive and within a minute, the bees were marching in, following her scent. It took some disassembly to get the last of the bees out from under the grate…
This is a more typical swarm in a tree. The bees move out of their hive and settle in a tree temporarily while they look for a new home in Mosman.
This swarm in Gladesvile made it very risky to open the door!
Here is a colony in Coogee that did not make it into the safety of a hollow tree. When bees swarm, their wax glands are actively producing wax. They also take a full load of honey in their honey stomachs (often around 4kgs taken by the while swarm of 10,000 bees). I believe the abundance of wax and their bulging stomachs makes it tempting for them to build combs at their temporary/interim location. If they cannot find a good home within a week, the temporary home becomes a permanent home. Of course, with full exposure to rain/hail and cold temperatures, these colonies are often doomed. I think this one looks especially graceful and “gothic”:
This swarm was at a pre-school in Chatswood, living under the floorboards. I found the Queen, put her in the box, and all the other bees marched in to be with her. The kids could all watch from the safety of their classroom. (Swarms are extremely docile, having no brood or honey to defend, but we need to minimize all risk in situations like this.):
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