Western Australian Apiarists' Society


Bee swarms are a relatively common occurrence in September, October and November in Western Australia but can be found at other times of the year too. Swarming is a response to lack of space in the hive and typically happens as spring nectar flows start and hive numbers need to expand. A decision is made by the hive to take the Queen and her workers to a new, spacious home where they can maximise the nectar on offer.

When bees swarm they are most unlikely to sting, so despite their appearance, people should not fear them, just treat them with respect. When a cluster of bees is seen hanging on a tree branch or similar, they are NOT thinking of setting up home there! They are in transition, clustered around their Queen and waiting for the scout bees to find new accommodation. That might only take a couple of hours or at most a few days, but almost invariably they will move on, of their own accord, although maybe to somewhere less convenient.  That doesn't always suit us humans and there are many beekeepers who are available to remove the cluster of bees.

Removing a swarm can be a simple as shaking the swarm into a box and many beekeepers are happy to help with this.

It is much easier to catch the swarms at this stage before they make a more permanent home so if you see a swarm it is best to report it as soon as possible.

Feral Hives

Once the scouts find a place to stay the swarm will move to their new location and set up their hive. They will quickly start making comb so the Queen can begin laying and worker bees can begin storing honey supplies. Once they have established themselves they are no longer considered to be a swarm and their placid nature can change.

Typically these new homes will be in holes in established trees, Telstra boxes or reticulation boxes (a favourite location), inside furniture left on your verandah, in gaps between double brick walls, behind weatherboards or any number of inconvenient locations for humans. And getting them out can be tricky. Sometimes accessing bees in these locations may require weatherboards or bricks to be removed or trees to be lopped and in some cases the only viable option is to euthanase the bees. 

There are many beekeepers who will help remove established colonies like this too. They often refer to these more difficult removals as "cut outs". It is always a good idea to check with a beekeeper before calling in a pest control service.


The Western Australian Apiarists Society (WAAS) as an amateur organisation does not provide or endorse any swarm catching or bee removal services or business, but we do have a list of members who are happy to tackle swarm catching and feral hive removal. Members mostly charge a fee for their work and you are advised to discuss this with them when contact is made. 

As general information, WAAS advises that members of the public who intend on contacting anyone for potential bee related work should consider the following points below, as a minimum;

  • Is the person adequately insured, considering the proposed activity?
  • Does the person have the required expertise?
  • How long has the person been undertaking similar activities?
  • Is the person adequately equipped to undertake the activity?
  • Does the person charge for their service?

The following individuals have indicated their availability to provide services with respect to bee related activities and have met the basic criteria of being WAAS members with signficant experience in catching swarms.

It will help our Swarmcatchers if you can provide photos of the swarm or feral hive.

Please note that our Swarmcatchers will mostly charge for their services - especially for difficult jobs. This covers their time, travel expenses and equipment costs.

 Ian Beeson  0419 049 013  Midland / Swan View  
 Daniel Bremer  0411 808 383  Metro South  A bee friendly licensed pest control man
 Gordon Carter  0429 784 831  Chittering and surrounds  
 David Currey  0417 173 551  Hills area  
 Damian Fasher  0407 448 849  City of Melville / City of Subiaco / City of South Perth  Friendly and helpful :-)
 Soren Houlberg
0432 265 922
 Metro South / Rockingham / Kwinana / Mandurah / Secret Harbour / Port Kennedy / Casuarina / Byford / Mundijong / Wandi / Beeliar / Cockburn   Public Liability insurance, ABN
 Myles Kelly  0417 927 202  Lynwood / Ferndale / Willeton / Canning Vale / Leeming / Shelley / Gosnells / Southern River / Cannington and south of the river  
 David McIntosh  0401 501 242

 Rockingham / Warrnbro / Shoalwater / Safety Bay and surrounding areas

 Swarm collection free by WAAS insured beekeeper. No climbing over 3m
 David Miller  0413 95 6464  Wanneroo and surrounds  
 Roy Murphy  0409 780 916  North of the River - Hillarys to Two Rocks  Fully insured
 Mike Newcombe  0419 196 211  Perth Metro  
 Brett Rabey  0418 903 764  Morley  
 John Rogers  0457 230 191   

City of Vic Park / Gosnells / Canning / Melville / Cockburn / Belmont / Fremantle

 Free Advice for Bee problems - just send me a photo first.

Experienced, reliable, insured. Swarm collection $80+

 Roumen Sankoff  0449 579 371  Floreat / City Beach / Churchlands / Woodlands / Wembley Downs /  Scarborough  Public Liability Insurance
 Gary Templeman  9309 1655  Councils - Joondalup / Wanneroo  
 Chris Thomas  0419 954 691  Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana areas  No charge for simple swarms
 Bert Valenti  0408 096 388  Swan Valley and surrounds  
 Pieter Berkelaar  0423 279 202  City of Albany  $50 to home a swarm, removing hive from difficult places by negotiation
 Dirk Hos  0414 385 350  Margaret River / Busselton / Dunsborough / Yallingup / Augusta  Depending on the swarm and the distance, there may be a charge
 Brian Keatley  0427 197 683  Little Grove (Albany)  
 Graeme Moore  0428 938 948  Harvey and surrounds including Uduc / Yarloop / Cookernup / Wokalup / Benger / Binningup / Myalup  Swarms at no charge, a photo if possible. Reasonable rates for more complex hive removals such as cutouts
 John Ramsay  0437 384 955  Donnybrook / Capel / Bunbury  
 Ron Smith

 08 9721 2393
 0409 302 618

 Bunbury region  
 Fred Spengler  0488 614 146  Mt Barker, Narrikup, Porongurup, Kendenup, Frankland, Tenterden  Removal is usually $50 to cover fuel
 Jim Watson  0419 833 470  Kalgoorlie  Charge depends on difficulty of removal and distance travelled.

WAAS as an organisation provides the information in the list above only for the purposes of allowing interested persons to contact individuals regarding bee related issues. Any agreement, engagement or activity that may be undertaken thereafter, by persons contacting individuals on the Swarm Catch list, is at their own risk and liability.

WAAS does not accept any responsibility whatsoever for issues which may arise as a result of persons contacting individuals named above. All persons are advised to undertake their own due diligence with respect to bee related activities.

If you are a financial WAAS member with some experience at catching swarms and/or undertaking cutouts and would like to be considered for this list, please complete this online form and then email secretary@waas.org.au to register your interest.

Photo credits
Swarm - Alyssa Clark
Feral hive - Darren Seinor

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software