Bee-swarm re­moval ser­vice cre­ates buzz

Albany Extra - - Extra News - Shan­non Smith

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.

“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 — fer­­m_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.

Jonathan Jones with the nat­u­ral honeycomb his feral bees cre­ate.

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