Swarming Bees 🐝

By Anita Brown, UNE Discovery

I visited a local school the other day and had an adventure! Through the classroom window we spied a swarm of bees and gingerly made our way outside to wonder at their activity. The busy bees were boldly making a nest just metres from where we stood. Although it was exciting, we needed a plan. Luckily, a member of staff was a beekeeper and bee removal expert who was able to take control of the situation.

I’m no bee expert, and not confident about the species we spied swarming, although I understand that European Honeybees are known to cling together in a large ball underneath a tree branch or other support….in the case of our flying visitors, a raised bench seat.

Why did the bees swarm and try to take up residence in the school playground? Swarming is a strategy that allows bees to reproduce and establish new colonies, and is initiated by the queen who leaves the hive. A portion of the worker bees also leave with her to help establish a nest.

While bees are, of course, extremely important for our ecosystem, and terrific pollinators as well as honey producers, having a feral nest in your back garden or school yard is not a good idea. We were fortunate to have a bee removal expert on hand who was able to ensure the safety of the bees as well as the humans.  Our resident bee expert devised a plan using two boxes, a bee protection suit, gentle handling and much patience. The result: re-homed happy bees and a safe school garden!