How much Do you know about swarming?

What is a bee swarm and why do they do it?

Bees swarm as a natural method of propagation, the colony which consists of a queen, drones and worker bees split to form a new colony somewhere else. A swarm of bees is generally very passive and rarely sting in this phase of their lifecycle. The swarm will fly and collect to form a bunch on a tree limb, the side of a hours or even on things such as cars and buildings. This is a staging area and a rest spot for the queen who cannot fly very far. It is important for a beekeeper to capture and re-home the bees in this phase before they move into a tree hollow, possom box or a wall cavity.

Do you have a swarm of bees needing to be re-homed?


Beekeeper  Bee Swarm Collection Area
Keith Pester
(Club Organiser
& President)
Northern Beaches & Ku-ring-gai Councils
Michael Syme
St Ives, Elanora Heights, Beacon Hill,
Narrabeen, Warriewood, Bayview, Ingleside,
Forestville, Belrose, Terrey Hills, Dee Why,
Allambie, Freshwater, Manly, Mona Vale
Brett Paskin
Collects swarms from the surrounding areas of

Lindfield, Pymble, Pymble West, Gordon, Ryde,
Wahroonga, Warrawee, North Turramurra

Michelle Blyme
Collects swarms from the surrounding areas of
Forestville, Frenchs Forest, Belrose, Ingleside,
Terrey Hills, Duffys Forest, Davidson, Narabeen,
Elanora and Mona Vale
Greg Potter
Collects swarms from the surrounding areas of
Lindfield, Roseville, Roseville Chase, Killara,
Turramurra, Thornleigh, St Ives & Hornsby area



The NSBKA keeps a list of members who would like to obtain a swarm of bees. Swarms are supplied to active members for a fee of $75.

Sometimes they also include donated hives and recently re-homed hives of bees. People wishing to add their names to the swarm recipient list should contact, Keith Pester and discuss their experience.

NSBKA Expectations of Members for a Swarm.

– Being a financial member of the NSBKA
– Able to respond to requests from the public within a reasonable time
– Having suitable equipment to collect swarms
– Able to offer advice in the event the swarm is either not a swarm or not able to be caught

After discussion about who may be available to collect a swarm for you, your empty assembled hive should be delivered to that person. After a few days of settling in, your hive can then be picked up after dark and moved to your new location. People who meet the requirements will be given preference when swarms are available.

Complete this Members’ Swarm Information Form and it will be emailed to Swarm organiser Mr Keith Pester. Please remember to advise Mr Keith Pester 0414 571 487 if you obtain bees from elsewhere such as buying a package.

Priority will be given to members without bees. Also if you know of a swarm and would like assistance in catching it, contact Keith Pester and he will put you in contact with one of the club committee and they will try to assist you. The swarming period for the Northern part of Sydney is generally between early September and the end of December. The NSBKA offers this as a free service and does not charge for the catching of Swarms.

Please note: Swarm Collectors on this list are not acting as agents for or on behalf of the North Shore Beekeepers Association (NSW) Inc.

You should complete a site assessment prior to attempting to collect any bees. Your safety is your responsibility. The North Shore Beekeepers Association has a list of members who are offering to re home swarms of bees. If the swarm is surplus to your requirements, contact the Swarm list Manager  to find a suitable home.

The hum of bees is the voice of garden

swarming bees

A natural instinct of a bee colony is to swarm and leave its hive to establish another colony elsewhere. This is the way that bees increase their numbers to survive as a species.

Swarms normally occur in the spring and early summer months. When bees swarm, they move out of the hive and fly to a new temporary location on a post, tree or fence in your backyard.

Once the swarm of bees has landed and settled, it clusters into a tight ball, which can vary in size from 200- 600mm in diameter. The bees will stay in this temporary location until a new permanent home is found and then the whole swarm will fly away again.

Is a Bee Swarm dangerous?

Swarming bees are not likely to attack and sting unless they are provoked by some sort of interference. There are a couple of reasons for this docile behavior.

While they are swarming and are temporarily settled, there are scout bees out looking for a new home and in their minds the swarm does not have a home to protect, so defensive behavior patterns are suspended until the new home is found. Another reason swarm bees are docile is that they leave their original home with bellies full of honey and this limits their lower body movement making it difficult to successfully sting.

If a swarm of bees arrives at your house, stay inside till the swarm has clustered and most of the bees have stopped flying. Watch for foraging bees flying to and from the swarm, as they may not see you and could get caught in your hair or clothing.

When you go outside, wear footwear to protect your feet in case some bees have landed on the ground.

What not to do

Do not attempt to move the swarm by hosing it, throwing stones at it, or poking it with a stick. This action will only aggravate the bees and encourage them to sting in defense.

It is safest to not attempt to remove a swarm yourself unless you have experience in handling bees.




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