What do you need to do about a swarm of bees or bee hives in and around your home?
Spring is here, and that means it’s bee season. Between September and December in Perth and the SW of Western Australia, many areas are expected to see swarms of bees and bee hives that might form on your property.
These bee swarms can be deeply concerning for you, especially if you have pets and small children, and if there are members of your family who may be allergic to a bee sting.
Despite the fears of many, swarming bees are generally no threat to us at all.
According to the Western Australian Department of Agriculture, swarming bees are “very docile and are not inclined to sting provided they are left alone and a few common sense precautions are taken.”
Here’s what to do if swarms of bees arrive on your property, according to the Department of Agriculture website:
- Keep children and pets inside for half an hour or so, until the flying bees have clustered on to a bush or other object.
- Once the swarm has formed a cluster, usually about the size of a football, and most of the bees have stopped flying, it is safe to be outside pursuing your usual activities.
- Keep clear of the swarm until you can arrange to have it removed.
- Always wear footwear to protect your feet in case the odd bee has settled on the ground.
- Keep clear of bee swarms until it is professionally removed.
- Do not hose the swarm with water, throw stones at it, smoke the bees or take any action to encourage the swarm to move. These do-it-yourself remedies will provoke the bees, and encourage them to sting in defence. Such actions will also make it more difficult for a beekeeper or licensed pest control operator to remove the swarm.
Do nut under any circumstances try to remove a colony or Swarm of Bees yourself, only a licensed pest control operator or an expert in bee keeping should attend any swam or colony of bees, that’s advice from the Department.
Here’s what they say:
Alternately, the Western Australian Apiarists Society has a list of swarm collectors on its website. When a swarm of bees has settled on your property, the best course is to have it professionally removed.
If you decide to do nothing, the swarm of bees may move to a new location or settle in the cavity wall of your house, an old drum, shed or a similar dark place, and establish a permanent nest, which can be expensive and more difficult to remove.
Generally, such a colony is not aggressive unless provoked, but at times it may become more aggressive due to adverse weather conditions or a scarcity of nectar and pollen. In any event, it is best to exterminate the bees to avoid the likelihood of being stung.
Do not attempt to remove a swarm of bees yourself.
Licensed pest control operators, listed in the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory, or online, will exterminate bees. The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia does not remove swarms or exterminate bee nests.