Western Australian Apiarists' Society

Swarms

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 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.

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 come to 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.

Swarm Catchers

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 some experience in catching swarms.

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


NAME  CONTACT  AREA  NOTES 
 METRO AREA      
 Peter Ashworth  0431 168 862  Metro East  
 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  
 Jeanie Crago  0427 888 662  Eastern Hills / Midland / Swan View / Bullsbrook and surrounds  
 David Currey  0417 173 551  Hills area  
 
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  
 Greg McColl

0423 115 295

South to South East Metro

 Swarm collection by WAAS insured beekeeper.
 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  

 

 Howard Milne



 0447 518 400

 North west metropolitan  Happy to remove swarms on your property as well as nearby properties at no charge. Gentle approach
 Jamie Moir  0422 915 092  North Perth and surrounds  Registered, insured, references and tax invoices available.
 Roy Murphy  0409 780 916  North of the River - Hillarys to Two Rocks  Fully insured
 Kim Newbold  0418 939 259  Within 50km radius of the City  
 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

 No charge for simple swarms. Reasonable rates for more complex hive removals
 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  
       
 REGIONAL WA      
 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) 
 John Ramsay  0437 384 955  Donnybrook / Capel / Bunbury  
 Ron Smith

 08 9721 2393
 0409 302 618

 Bunbury region  
 Jim Watson  0419 833 470  Kalgoorlie  
       
 

Disclaimers:
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


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