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Dealing with honey bee swarms or colonies in property 

This addresses the situation where honey bees are found in property. Whilst this discusses honeybees and beekeepers do not normally deal with colonies of wasps, as they require specialist treatments, much of the information can also apply to other flying insects e.g. wasps. Honey bees swarming is a natural event and can occur at any time during the Spring and Summer.

 When honey bees swarm, a large proportion of the honey bees leave their nest in search of a new location to start a new colony and that place can be anywhere that is warm and dry. The types of places can include:

  • Trees
  • Inside roof spaces
  • Behind facia boards and soffits
  • Between the ceiling and floor boards
  • Wall cavities
  • Sheds
  • Garages
  • Out buildings
  • Compost bins
  • And many more places In other words anywhere that offers honey bee’s protection from the elements and room/space to expand. A swarm of honey bees occurs when a proportion of honey bees leave their nest (colony). They usually form a cluster in or on any suitable place, which might be a tree, gatepost or on an object.

When they are organised into a cluster, they will fly to their new “home”. A colony of honey bees is an established and mature/growing entity which can consist of up to forty thousand honey bees i.e. substantially larger than a swarm of honey bees. It will contain bees, bee's wax comb and stores of honey and will take up a sizable amount of space. Swarms of honey bees can usually be safely removed by a suitably qualified/experienced beekeeper if they are contacted in time.

If the honey bees have left their post swarming clustering place and taken up residence in the fabric of a building, that can be more difficult (if not impossible) to be safely dealt with by a beekeeper.

Professional pest control personnel will be required to undertake the work either solely or in conjunction with a beekeeper If the honey bees are not causing a nuisance or a threat, they can be left alone.

Some properties are known to have had honey bee colonies within their fabric for many years without causing any disturbance or problems to the property owner.

  If the honey bees are considered by the property owner to present a risk or a disturbance to them, beekeepers will always provide help and advice.

Whilst suitably qualified beekeepers are normally able to remove swarms of honey bees and are insured for all normal beekeeping activities, the insurance does not extend to working at heights or undertaking building works to gain access to honey bees.

Those are jobs for professionals i.e. builders and pest control personnel.

Beekeepers cannot put any member of the public or them selves at risk by undertaking swarm collection in dangerous or hazardous environments.

©Brisbane Amateur Beekeepers' Society Inc.

"Brisbane Amateur Beekeepers'Society Inc." is a  non-profit organization. Brisbane Queensland Australia

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