Bee-swarm removal service creates buzz

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

Jonathan Jones is the Feral Beekeeper and his free swarm- removal service in the Albany region is saving a fundamental part of the ecosystem — the honey bee.

The bee-swarming season has just started — the bees in the Porongurups kicked off about three weeks ago and the Albany region joined this week.

For the next six weeks, Mr Jones will be removing swarms from people’s properties and rehoming them in natural hives in one of his six hive locations — Albany, Stirling, Gull Rock, the Porongurups and two in Kalgan.

He trades by the name the Feral Beekeeper because the bees he collects in the Great Southern are termed feral — they were introduced here rather than being native. He said the worst advice anyone could get if they had a swarm on their property was that it would go away on its own.

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“As soon as you see (a swarm) get on the phone to me, because as soon as it goes in your wall I can’t get to them,” he said.

“The end result is that the wall is knocked down or hundreds of dollars of poison will kill them.

“I am trying to prevent this happening at the same time as building up my own population of feral bees.”

Hoping to create more than 100 hives this season, he visits properties where people believe they have a swarm and removes them for free.

He said one in every three mouthfuls of food people took around the world had to be pollinated by bees.

“Albert Einstein said that if we eradicate the honey bees through the world, mankind would cease to exist within four years,” he said.

“The reason that I collect these bees, rather than go and buy 100 queen bee hives, is because in my opinion the feral bees are better genetic stock and they are the future of the bee industry because they are immune to some diseases.”

People must be sure the bees on their property are a swarm before calling as Mr Jones can only remove swarms.

Swarms are usually identified by the bearded shape of flying bees and a definition is available at Mr Jones’ website — fertile-eggs.com/bee_swarm_removal.

Mr Jones will spray the bees with honey water to remove the swarm.

They then drop into a box and are then transferred to their new home in the bush.

The bees are welcome to leave whenever they want, but his 98 per cent success rate proves they are happy in their new natural homes.

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