Warwick apiarist says it's easy to bee safe in swarm time

BUSY BEES: As the weather warms up, bees will swarm to find new homes.
BUSY BEES: As the weather warms up, bees will swarm to find new homes. John Craig

THE warmer weather and fresh foliage marks not only the arrival of spring on the Southern Downs, but swarm season.

Many bees will be taking advantage of the plants that are beginning to flower and be far more mobile now the mercury is rising.

Warwick beekeeper John Craig said plenty of swarms would be setting off to find new homes, and though they posed minimal risk to people, it was important to be aware.

Mr Craig, who runs Carramar Apiaries, said it was a common misconception that bees were more aggressive when swarming.

"They need to be well stocked to build up a new home,” he said.

"The bees have gorged themselves on honey in preparation to start the new hive, so they're actually far more docile during swarm season than at other times of the year.

"Some people are concerned about bees because they don't know what to expect or think they're dangerous.

"They're not particularly dangerous unless you have a fear of bees or an allergy, and of course for some people one sting can be quite a problem.”

With the arrival of spring, Mr Craig said bees had plenty of fodder in the bevy of fresh flowers available thanks to good rainfall.

He said swarms could turn up anywhere and urged people to keep an eye if they were causing problems around their home.

"This season I've already had some over near West Side and a few around town,” Mr Craig said.

"They love natives and ground cover like clover and turnip weed and tend to be more active during the warmer hours of the day between 10 and 3.

"Bees can land anywhere make their home inside a hollow tree, a wall space, in a shed, I've even seen them in a panel of a car so you never know where they're going to pop up.”

Mr Craig said wall cavities tended to be a particularly troublesome spot for a swarm to settle.

"It's an awkward spot because if the bees are coming and going from the hive near a doorway it can cause problems for the people using that route,” he said.

"Once the bees have settled they can become quite defensive and in a spot like that it would increase the likelihood of sting.

"Most people do the right thing and call someone to help remove the bees rather than try to do it themselves.

"My major concern is if one is hanging in a bush at head height and someone was to walk into it, or if people come slashing at the swarm with a stick or something because then you're asking for trouble.

"You can check out Aussie Apiarists online and call a local beekeeper, including myself, or phone the council and Department of Agriculture for someone to come out and remove a swarm.”

If you are concerned about a swarm of bees:

Avoid disturbing them

If possible, lightly mist bees with sprinkler to keep them from moving

Contact Southern Downs Regional Council on to have them removed and

Topics:  bees swarms warwick

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