Bee Swarms

Why do bees swarm?

Bees swarm to reproduce their colonies. It is nature doing its thing! Usually a queen will fly off from the old colony and take about half of the flying bees with her. Often they settle first in a spot close to the old colony where they cluster in a ball. From there they will send out scouts to find a more permanent home. The swarm ball might stay for a a few hours or up to a day or two. 

Swarm of bees
Bees Macro

Difference between a swarm & established nest

A swarm of bees will cluster in a tempory location before moving to a permanent location and they will not start to build comb. This is the best time to capture the swarm and relocate them to a suitable location. Once the swarm has found a suitable site they will begin building combs and establishing the nest. An established nest is a lot more difficult to relocate and may also require work to gain access to the nest especially if located within a buildings frame work.

What to do?

Do not spray the bees with anything. Don’t be frightened! During swarming, bees are extraordinarly docile because they are focussed on finding a new home, not on attacking or stinging you! Don’t attack them with pesticides – contact us! This is often a chance for our members to expand their apiary, so we do it gladly!

Honey Bees in Hive Close Up

Swarm/Nest removal Contact List

Swarm Collection

Phillip Plant – European Honey Bees – Townsville, Ayr, Rollingstone 0456 191 000

Ben Taylor Douglas/ Riverside Gardens – 4728 4992/ 0428 186000

Duane Saltmer Alice River – 0400 339508

Nick Smith Townsville & Surrounds – European Honey Bees & Native Bees – 0438 033 301

Steve Kersnovske Kelso 0417 344 419

Sonya Verbrugt Gulliver 0408 530 991

Sharene Dougall Bluewater 0415 426 903

Bruce Warren – Native Bees – Townsville Area – 0413 395 928

Bruce Moginsen – European Honey Bees – Railway Estate/Idalia – 0427 174 705

Liz Hennig – European Honey Bees – Northern Beaches – 0409 067 367

Ronelle Nord Alice River/ Rupertswood 0417 752 622

Tito Parigi Magnetic Island 0418 796951

Mervyn Yule Charters Towers – 0427 124 126

Wendy Davey Woodstock, Alligator Creek, Giru and out to Charters Towers – 0413 319 933

Nest Removals from houses, Trees and other structures

Phillip Plant – European Honey Bees – Townsville, Ayr, Rollingstone 0456 191 000

Wendy Davey Woodstock, Alligator Creek, Giru and out to Charters Towers –0413 319 933

A swarm of European honey bees clinging to a bee queen on a bush
Wasps in comb

What's the difference between a wasp nest and a bee swarm?

Wasps typically build their nests in an elevated but relatively open area. Their nests are generally thin and papery. Wasps themselves are generally fewer in number, are often very yellow and have their wings in “K” formation.

Honey bees on the other hand, will typically swarm and a settle in a bunch the size of a football.This is often in a tree or bush. When they make a home it is mostly in a concealed cavity where it is dark. House ceilings and walls are a favourite place. When they build comb it is very waxy (not papery!). Bee swarms have thousands to tens of thousands of bees in them. When they have made their home, most of the time you won’t see the honey comb, only the entrance  from where they come and go.

The Asian honeybee in Townsville!!

The Asian Honeybee has been found and eradicated in Townsville several times, see our page on Asian Honey Bees

please contact Biosecurity 13 25 23 if you see bee swarms or unusual bee activity. Asian Honey Bees carrying Varroa mite have been detected in our region.