Why do bees swarm?
Bees swarm to reproduce their colonies. It is nature doing its thing! Usually a queen will fly off from the old colony and take about half of the flying bees with her. Often they settle first in a spot close to the old colony where they cluster in a ball. From there they will send out scouts to find a more permanent home. The swarm ball might stay for a a few hours or up to a day or two.
Difference between a swarm & established nest
A swarm of bees will cluster in a tempory location before moving to a permanent location and they will not start to build comb. This is the best time to capture the swarm and relocate them to a suitable location.
Once the swarm has found a suitable site they will begin building combs and establishing the nest. An established nest is a lot more difficult to relocate and may also require work to gain access to the nest especially if located within a buildings frame work.
What to do?
Do not spray the bees with anything. Don't be frightened! During swarming, bees are extraordinarly docile because they are focussed on finding a new home, not on attacking or stinging you! Don't attack them with pesticides - contact us! This is often a chance for our members to expand their apiary, so we do it gladly!
The Asian honeybee is now in Townsville!!
Please contact Biosecurity : 13 25 23 for any swarm or strange bee activity in the Townsville region. Asian Honey Bees carrying Varroa mite have been detected in our region. For more information on the Asian honeybee, click here.
Swarm Contact List:
Jon & Frana McKinstry: Kelso - 0413 765 192 (Jon) or 0401 014 948 (Frana)
Wayne Taylor Rasmussen 0434 745 353
Mick Taylor Cranbrook 0428 626 707
Ben Taylor Townsville West 4728 4992/ 0428 186 000
Brendan Arboit Ayr 0406 403 005
Steve and Carla Kersnovske Kelso 0417 344 419
Sonya Verbrugt Gulliver 0408 530 991
Dave Turnbull Annandale 0458 645 677
Doug McBride Mysterton 4775 7465
Dan & Drew Donovan: Wulguru - 0428 218 816
Grant Whiteford Cranbrook 4728 3051
Dan and Chrystal Horn Bushland Beach 0437 540 473
Sharene Dougall Bluewater 0415 426 903
John Pavetto 0488 414 017, Ian Goulevitch 0429 770 273, Hinchinbrook
Ronelle White Alice River/ Rupertswood 0417 752 622
What's the difference between a wasp nest and a bee swarm?
Wasps typically build their nests in an elevated but relatively open area. Their nests are generally thin and papery. Wasps themselves are generally fewer in number, are often very yellow and have their wings in "K" formation.
Honey bees on the other hand, will typically swarm and a settle in a bunch the size of a football.This is often in a tree or bush. When they make a home it is mostly in a concealed cavity where it is dark. House ceilings and walls are a favourite place. When they build comb it is very waxy (not papery!). Bee swarms have thousands to tens of thousands of bees in them. When they have made their home, most of the time you won't see the honey comb, only the entrance from where they come and go.