At this time of year, one of the most common pests we are called out for are Bees. Bees present an obvious hazard, they possess a nasty sting, have a defensive nature and will not hesitate to defend the hive with their lives when threatened. One or multiple stings can prove to be both very painful and if someone is allergic stings can be very serious or life threatening.
Bee Swarming – what to look for
From September through December, bees are literally on the move. This is known as the swarming season. Swarming is a natural part of the reproductive lifecycle of bees. The warmer weather and increases of nectar and pollen in the environment cause the colony to increase in population, leading to overcrowding of the hive. This over-population is what prompts the bees to begin to swarm and reproduce.
A swarm will usually commence during late morning to early afternoon when the weather is warm and sunny. The queen will leave the hive with on average half the bees from the colony. The swarm will usually come to rest in a cluster on reasonably nearby objects such as trees, shrubs and manmade objects such as signs, fences and buildings. The swarm will usually stay clustered it the desired area from anywhere between a few hours up to two days. During this time worker bees are sent to scout for a permanent nesting site. Once a suitable nesting site is found the swarm is informed and then moves to the designated site and establish a new colony.
This week, one of our technicians managed to take some photographs of a swarm clustered on a wall of a unit block in Smithfield. These bees had been in this position for about 24 hours prior to his arrival and will stay here until their scouts seek out a suitable site, then move on.
The bees swarm from the hive after gorging on honey which will sustain them during swarming stage. Because of this and the fact that they are currently homeless means that their defensive behaviour is reduced and generally are not aggressive. That being said, it is not advisable to interfere with them as provoking them will make them become increasingly defensive and aggressive.
Bee removal risks
Often we hear of people trying to get rid of these clusters of bees with their garden hoses or by throwing items at them and in the process being stung, sometimes multiple times. When bees are in this state, stay away from them and do not interfere with them. If you are presented with a swarm of bees it is extremely important that you leave them alone and contact a professional to assess the situation and take the appropriate measures that may be required. If there is a threat posed by these swarms they can be removed and relocated quite easily be a professional only. Do not attempt this yourself.
The swarm will find a suitable location, often within the external wall cavities of a building such as a school block, unit block or a house. Once established inside the cavity and will aggressively defend against threats to their new hive. Bees nesting in a wall can easily be identified as they will be seen flying around the area and landing on the wall and walking into the cavity via gaps such as vents, gaps around window/door frames, holes in external walls and the like. If this situation is encountered it is essential to contact Amalgamated Pest Control. We have purpose built equipment which allows our technicians to directly apply treatment into the wall and destroy the hive, removing the threat to you, your family and pets.
What to do if you are stung by bees
For any patient that is allergic to bee stings and shows signs of anaphylaxis, call 000 for an ambulance, and have the patient taken immediately to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.
If you or a family member are stung by bees, follow these general first aid steps:
- Remove stings by scraping sideways with your fingernail or with the edge of a knife.
- Apply a cold pack.
- Watch for allergic reactions – breathing difficulties, rashes, itching, or swelling around the mouth or eyelids.
If an allergic reaction takes place call 000 for an ambulance.
- Observe and record pulse and breathing.
- If casualty is carrying medication for the allergy it should be taken at once.
- If conscious: help casualty to sit in a position which most relieves breathing difficulty.
- If unconscious: open and clear casualty’s airway and prepare to resuscitate if necessary.
If you need bee removal, please contact your Amalgamated Pest Control Sydney for further advice.