Bee swarms on the move
19 October 2009
The Department of Agriculture and Food is receiving increased reports of bee swarms on the move in both metropolitan and regional areas.
The Department’s Pest and Disease Information Service has received 80 reports from the public in recent weeks, from as far afield as Hamlin Bay to Ravensthorpe.
Department spokesman Rob Manning said it was the usual seasonal activity as bees looked to settle on new nests.
“The swarming process is part of the natural reproductive life cycle of honeybee colonies during spring,” Mr Manning said.
“People should not panic. Sometimes they settle for a few days until they find a home, and they are usually placid, even though the buzzing noise of the swarms might sound disturbing.
“They are not inclined to sting if they are left alone.
“It is important not to hose the swarm with water, throw anything at the swarm, shine a light at the swarm or to take any action to encourage the swarm to move.”
The Department recommends that children and pets be kept inside until flying bees have clustered.
“Once the swarm has formed a cluster and most of the bees have stopped flying, it is usually safe to be outside,” Mr Manning said.
“Most of the time, if left alone, they will fly off to a new location. If they don’t, the department advises that members of the public should keep clear of the swarm and seek professional help to remove the cluster.”
Swarms are removed by licensed pest control operators and bee and wasp removalists. The department does not remove swarms or exterminate nests of bees.
Mr Manning said that if people were interested in keeping bees, a swarm of bees could be housed in a wooden hive purchased from commercial outlets registered with the Department of Agriculture and Food.
“The keeping of bees can be a rewarding experience and there is an amateur beekeeping association that meets monthly at the Department to learn all the techniques,” he said.
For more information see http://www.beekeepingwestaus.asn.au/
Further information on bees and bee swarms can be found on the department’s website, www.agric.wa.gov.au
Rob Manning 9368 3567
Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison 9368 3937/9368 3325
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