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.
This is the best time to remove them - before they make a permanent home somewhere inconvenient and become a feral hive. There are many beekeepers who are available to remove the cluster of bees at this stage - please see our list of Swarmcatchers below.
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.
To report bees in Telstra pits, please call 132200 and say “Report damages” and give the closest physical address. Only Telstra registered beekeepers are allowed to access Telstra equipment to remove bees.
|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|
0417 173 551
| 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|
0417 927 202
|Lynwood / Ferndale / Willeton / Canning Vale / Leeming / Shelley / Gosnells / Southern River / Cannington and south of the river|
|0413 95 6464||Wanneroo and surrounds|
| Roy Murphy
||0409 780 916||North of the River - Hillarys to Two Rocks||Fully insured|
|Kim Newbold||0418 939 259||Perth Metro and South to Mandurah||Cutouts and difficult removals will be quoted|
|Mike Newcombe||0419 196 211||Perth Metro|
|Ronald Peebles||0439 694 488||Rockingham / Shoalwater Bay / Medina||Swarm collection $100 ($50 for pensioners). Cutouts and difficult removals from $150. All takings go toward rehousing bees.|
|Brett Rabey||0418 903 764||Morley|
|John Rogers||0457 230 191||City of Vic Park / Gosnells / Canning / Melville / Cockburn / Belmont / Fremantle||Free Advice for Bee problems - just send me a photo first. Experienced, reliable, insured. Swarm collection $80+|
|Roumen Sankoff||0449 579 371||Floreat / City Beach / Churchlands / Woodlands / Wembley Downs / Scarborough||Public Liability Insurance|
|Adrian Sykes||0410 040 088||City of Swan|
|Chris Thomas||0419 954 691||Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana areas||No charge for simple swarms|
|Bert Valenti||0408 096 388||Swan Valley and surrounds|
|George Vernham||0418 144 284||Rockingham / Warnbro / Port Kennedy and surrounding areas||WAAS Insured beekeeper, ABN / Friendly and helpful|
|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)|
|Roland Kuendig||0422 791 197||Busselton, Carlotta, Manjimup, Nannup||Please send a photo|
|John Ramsay||0437 384 955||Donnybrook / Capel / Bunbury|
08 9721 2393
|Fred Spengler||0488 614 146||Mt Barker, Narrikup, Porongurup, Kendenup, Frankland, Tenterden||Swarm removal is usually $50 to cover fuel. Cutouts will need a picture and a phone call - minimum $150|
|Jim Watson||0419 833 470||Kalgoorlie||Charge depends on difficulty of removal and distance travelled.|
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