Each year we receive a large number of calls for swarm removal and relocations in the ACT. Generally the swarms are located soon after swarming and are simple to remove. In some cases, swarms can go unnoticed for weeks (and at times months) leading to the swarms establishing natural comb and in many instances a complete hive in the swarm location.
In these instances, a much more involved process is undertaken to rehome the hive and the established bee colony into manageable hives to ensure the strength of the hive is maintained after it is transferred.
Below are photos taken from the relocation of these established hives at the end of the swarm season.
Water meter with a view at the National Arboretum Canberra
It's not uncommon to find bee colonies in meter boxes, but it's not every day that they are in such an amazing location!
The colony had managed to survive with an explosion of both wax moth and small hive beetle breeding in the established comb. A large number of bees and amount of comb were able to be recovered and after a quarantine period will be used to build the colony in their new home.
Water meter cover with view back towards Molonglo Valley
The bee swarm had entered through a small hole cut in the cover and built comb down into the space below
The comb included a mix of pollen, nectar and brood throughout
Bees managing the comb remaining on the water meter cover
The comb was removed in large sections to limit disturbance
Multiple sections of comb recovered for placement into the nucleus hive box
Removal of comb revealed wax moth larvae and small hive beetle throughout the meter box
A large concentration of wax moth larvae was located in the debris below the comb
The recovered comb was inspected and placed into a corflute nucleus hive box at the entrance to the meter box
After the majority of bees had migrated out of the meter box, the nucleus hive box was reoriented to assist returning field bees
Field bees can be seen returning to the new entrance
The nucleus hive box was left in place for 24-48 hours to collect returning field bees and to allow the colony to establish new comb before it was transported