Bee Nests - Amazing Bees | Melbourne Australia

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Nests of European Honeybees
A bees' nest is where honeybees live and find shelter, build comb to raise their brood and store honey and pollen for food. It is their habitat, their home.

Honeybees build amazing nests, consisting of sheets of honeycomb made from beeswax, produced by themselves.

The natural nesting site for a colony of European Honeybees is a sheltered, darkened enclosure, like a tree hollow, a cave or another cavity found in nature.

In residential areas bees also find suitable housing in cavities such as house walls, the floor cavity of multi-storey buildings, letter boxes, meter boxes, chimneys, or compost bins and possum boxes in the backyard.

Occasionally you can find the comb hanging down from tree branches - although it is not typical for European Honeybees to build their nest in the open.
How long will the nest be used?
Mostly in residential areas there can be situations where nesting bee colonies are causing safety concerns or have become a nuisance and cannot be longer tolerated. The question arises:

"How long will the bees be using this location as their home and can we tolerate them that long?"

Under normal circumstances a bees' nest is occupied for eight to ten years, longer when there is enough space to extend the combs, which are the fundamental building elements.

But this should not be the only concern.

The long term effect of a bee nest
What has to be noted is that from an unmanaged or feral colony of bees a bee swarm emerges, usually every spring, searching for a suitable nesting site, usually nearby.

It is not uncommon to find two or more nesting bee colonies in the house wall cavity of the same house a few years after arrival of the first bee colony, not to mention those swarms that have disappeared over the fence and settled somewhere in the neighbourhood.

Feral bee colonies are not being controlled by a beekeeper, so they follow their natural instinct to swarm in order to multiply. Diligent beekeepers manage their bees and control the swarming urge of their bees to prevent swarms from being released into the neighbourhood.

So, when a colony of bees has moved into your compost bin and you are willing to tolerate them there, please rethink the situation with regards to the years ahead, one new bee colony every year emerging from your compost bin, searching for a new home on your property and in your neighbourhood.

Even when you think you can tolerate an unmanaged or feral bee colony in your backyard, spawning a swarm every year - do you think your neighbours can tolerate the swarms coming to their property?

Here in Victoria it is against the law to keep unmanaged or feral bee colonies on your property. Councils can apply hefty fines.


Bee removal or extermination?
Particularly in residential areas, a nesting colony of bees can become a nuisance or a safety concern.

Examples:
  • A bees' nest on or near a school yard might be interesting for the kids but will cause concern of some parents.
  • A tree needs to be lopped and when the tree is hosting a bees' nest, no tree lopper would attempt to cut down the tree with the bees in it.
  • A bees' nest in the wall cavity of your house could be exciting in the short term, but intolerable in the long run.

Hence, having a bees' nest removed by relocation or extermination is often required.

In most cases a nesting colony of honeybees can be removed and relocated without destroying the bees. However, removing bees alive can be quite labour intensive and difficult, and is sometimes not an economical or safe option.

Removing a bees' nest without destroying the bees is not always possible or a viable option. In principle, when the cavity the bees are nesting in cannot be opened or is unsafe to be opened or too expensive, extermination by a licensed Pest Controller is the sensible option.

When you have a bees' nest on your property:
  • Take into consideration to have it removed and relocated if possible.
  • If removal is not an option, have them destroyed as soon as possible, before the problem/damage escalates.
  • Keep children and pets away from the nest.
  • Do not attempt to spray the bees with fly spray or any other pesticides.
  • Any interference with the nest will only aggravate the bees and encourage them to sting in defence.
  • Interfering with the nest will make it more difficult for a beekeeper to deal with the bees.

If you need a bees' nest removed and relocated you might consider our [Bee Removal Service]


Photos of Bee Nests
bees in possum box
Bees nesting in a Possum Box, starting to grow out of it.
bees with possum box
Bees' nest in a possum box or possum box in a bees' nest?
Bees nesting in the open
Bees nesting in the open in a Grevillia bush
Bees nest in wall
Young colony of bees nesting between two studs in a house wall cavity.
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