Beekeepers' Society

of South Australia

Swarms

HOW TO MANAGE SWARMING BEES

Honey bees are the only type of bees that swarm.

Swarming is a natural instinct of a colony, and a part of their reproductive cycle, leaving the hive to establish another colony elsewhere. One of the main reasons for bees swarming is overcrowding of the hive due to the queen laying more eggs thanks to warm weather and an increase of flowers and pollen.

Swarming season can begin as early as August and run through until February, March. The queen and anywhere between 5,000 to 20,000 worker bees will leave the hive and land in gardens or sometimes in even more obscure places, a post, tree or fence in your backyard.

Once the swarm of bees has landed and settled, they will form a tight ball around the queen, keeping her warm and ensuring she is safe. Around that is a one-metre or more wide body of flying bees (also foraging bees flying to and fro, collecting nectar and water).

WHAT TO DO:
• Don’t worry, bees in a swarm are NOT aggressive or inclined to sting unless provoked.
• Stay inside till the swarm has clustered and most of the bees have stopped flying, watch for foraging bees flying to and from the swarm as they may not see you and get caught in your hair or clothing.
• Wear footwear to protect your feet in case some bees have landed on the ground.

DON’T
• Attempt to move the swarm by hosing it, throwing stones at it, or shooting it with guns;
• Spray it with insecticide. This can make the bees sick or at the very worst kill them;
• Assume they are wasps; bees and wasps can look similar;
• Try to remove a swarm yourself.

DO
• Remember that bees are good for the environment and need to be saved; bees removed by a beekeeper are typically relocated and not killed where possible, which is better for the environment.
• Look at the BSSA Swarm list for an experienced beekeeper near you; a list of beekeepers who will collect and relocate your swarm can be found below
• Note that bees found on private property or a road verge, please contact your local Council. Most have a “Swarm Removal List” or a Community Information Directory which lists community based organisations.
• Know that if your swarm is located in a chimney or wall cavity, it is most likely that a pest control operation may need to be called. This may mean that the bees will need to be killed, so getting advice from a trained swarm collector first is advised.

Beekeepers removing swarms may charge a fee for removal, which is less than typically charged by a pest controller.

Normal Removal
Southern suburbs, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula and Murraylands

Ken Allen – 0438 362 517

Adelaide Hills

Crispin Boxhall – 0477 172 171

Adelaide Hills, eastern and southern suburbs

Glen Duffield – 0407 971 951

Southern Hills

Ben Blanchette – 0417 792 085

Onkaparinga and Marion council areas

Peter England – 8381 3664 – 0407 971 427

Adelaide Hills, eastern and western suburbs

Roy Frisby-Smith – 8339 5041 – 0417 834 531

Prospect and surrounding areas

Jack Grieve – 0431 147 334

Salisbury area

Joel Hayes – 0403 793 013

Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula,, eastern and southern suburbs

Andrew Johnson – 0412 467 025

Difficult Locations
Southern suburbs

Susan Lonie – 0417 811 067

Northeastern suburbs

Phil Marshall – 0416 343 204

Eastern and southeastern suburbs

Karen Nunes-Vaz – 0421 766 945

Gawler and Evanston area

Jim Pugh  – 0458 224 941

(If no answer contact Jamie 0419 220 921 or Tracey 0438 224 472)

Salisbury, Playford, Port Adelaide- Enfield

Gordon Telford – 0401 669 652

Metropolitan area

John Wyk – 8362 5729

Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula,, eastern and southern suburbs

Andrew Johnson – 0412 467 025