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.
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.
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;
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 :-)|
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|
|David McIntosh||0401 501 242||
||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
|Experienced, reliable, WAAS insured. Swarms: $50-$100 depending on accessibility, location and urgency|
|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|
|Anton Oud||0432 372 354||Busselton to Augusta||Swarms only - no cutouts|
|John Ramsay||0437 384 955||Donnybrook / Capel / Bunbury|
08 9721 2393
|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|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
Swarm - Alyssa Clark
Feral hive - Darren Seinor