Swarm Collection

Swarming Bees

Please go to the bottom of the page or click here for a list of names of club bee collectors

A natural instinct of a bee colony is to swarm and leave its hive to establish another colony elsewhere. This is the way that bees increase their numbers to survive as a species. Swarms normally occur in the spring and early summer months, but can happen at any time of year, with winter being the least likely. When bees swarm, they move out of the hive and fly to a new temporary location on a post, tree or fence in your backyard.

Once the swarm of bees has landed and settled, it clusters into a tight ball, which can vary in size from 200- 600mm in diameter. The bees will stay in this temporary location until a new permanent home is found and then the whole swarm will fly away again. The temporary location may be used for as little as two hours but may be up to two days.

Is a Bee Swarm dangerous?

Swarming bees are not likely to attack and sting unless they are provoked by some sort of interference.  There are a couple of reasons for this docile behavior.  While they are swarming and are temporarily settled, there are scout bees out looking for a new home and in their minds the swarm does not have a home to protect, so defensive behavior patterns are suspended until the new home is found.

Another reason swarm bees are docile is that they leave their original home with bellies full of honey and this limits their lower body movement making it difficult to successfully sting.

If a swarm of bees arrives at your house, stay inside till the swarm has clustered and most of the bees have stopped flying.  Watch for foraging bees flying to and from the swarm, as they may not see you and could get caught in your hair or clothing.

When you go outside, wear footwear to protect your feet in case some bees have landed on the ground.

What not to do

Do not attempt to move the swarm by hosing it, throwing stones at it, or poking it with a stick. This action will only aggravate the bees and encourage them to sting in defense.

It is safest to not attempt to remove a swarm yourself unless you have experience in handling bees.

Removal of swarms

North Shore Beekeepers Association is made up mostly of hobby beekeepers and the removal of swarms is usually free of charge. A small donation to the club is always appreciated but is not mandatory. A phone call to any of our members on the swarm list ensures that you will receive prompt service.

If the bees to be removed are already an established colony in a wall or some container in your garden, removal may entail some hours of work and you should ask about cost before allowing the bees to be moved.

In every case, (swarm or established colony), confirm the cost before agreeing to the removal.

Beekeepers removing swarms will almost always charge less than that typically charged by a pest controller, with the advantage that rather than killing them, the bees will be relocated.


The North Shore Beekeepers Association provides a list of Association Members willing to undertake the collection of swarm bees, as requested by members of the public.

The cost of and timing for removal of bees shall be a negotiated arrangement between the beekeeper and the person requesting the removal.

NSBKA accepts no responsibility or liability in all cases.

How to have your swarm removed

The list below shows names and phone numbers as well as the area in which the beekeeper lives and an indication of how far the beekeeper is willing to travel to remove a swarm.

It is important to phone someone as soon as the swarm is noticed as the scout bees may very quickly find an entrance into the walls or roof of your house and once inside, they are very difficult and expensive to remove.

It is in your best interest to phone the beekeeper living closest to you and continue phoning others until you find someone who can come immediately.

Information for NSBKA Members who want to join the Swarm Recipient List

The NSBKA keeps a list of members who would like to obtain a swarm of bees. These are usually supplied free of charge to members. Sometimes they also include donated hives and recently re-homed hives of bees.

People wishing to add their names to the swarm recipient list should approach the club President, Keith Pester, and discuss their experience prior to being added to the list.

The requirements to receive a swarm include:

  • Must be a financial member of the NSBKA
  • Have their equipment ready to accept a swarm at a moment’s notice.

After discussion about who may be available to collect a swarm for you, your empty assembled hive should be delivered to that person, so the swarm can be housed immediately. After a few days of settling in, your hive, complete with the swarm can then be picked up after dark and moved to your new location.

People who follow the above system will be given allocation preference when swarms are caught.

We recommend the following as a minimum:

  1. Bee hive complete with frames and foundation
  2. Base board and Lid
  3. Smoker and Hive tool
  4. Bee stand (optional)
  5. Bee suit or jacket
  6. Gloves
  7. Feeder

Complete the following and hand to Mr Keith Pester:



Mobile phone………….

Email address

Have you completed the NSBKA Bee keeping course?                Yes / No

Do you currently have bees?

Have you selected your bee hive site              Yes/No   or would you like help?

Your availability during weekdays or weekends to help collect your swarm?

Are you planning on going away during October to November?

Please remember to advise Mr Keith Pester 0414 571 487 if you obtain bees from elsewhere such as buying a package. Priority will be given to members without bees. Also if you know of a swarm and would like assistance in catching it, contact Keith Pester and he will put you in contact with one of the club executives and they will try and assist you.

NSBKA Expectations of Members on this Swarm Collection List

The NSBKA keeps a list of members who are willing and able to assist the general public with catching swarms of bees. The bee swarming period for Northern part of Sydney is generally between early September and the end of December.

The NSBKA offers this service as a free service and does not charge for the catching of Swarms. Sometimes they also include donated hives and recently re-homed hives of bees.

People wishing to add their names to the swarm collection list should approach the club President, Keith Pester  0414 571 487 and discuss their experience prior to being added to the list.

The requirements to be on the swarm collection list include:

  • Must be a financial member of the NSBKA
  • Able to respond to requests from the public within a reasonable time
  • Have suitable equipment to collect swarms
  • Able to offer advice in the event the swarm is either not a swarm or not able to be caught

Please note: Swarm Collectors on this list are not acting as agents for or on behalf of the North Shore Beekeepers Association (NSW) Inc.

You should complete a site assessment prior to attempting to collect any bees. Your safety is your responsibility.

The North Shore Beekeepers Association runs a list of members who are offering to re home swarms of bees. If the swarm is surplus to your requirements, contact the swarm list manager ( Mr Keith Pester) to find a suitable home.

The NSBKA offers this service to the community as a free service, and does not charge for the catching of Swarms. You may accept donations to the club in return for removing unwanted bee swarms.

Club bank account: BSB 032-083 account 168197       Reference Donation.

Club email is club@nsbka.org.au


Swarm collectors

Greg Deakin0410 742 953Sydney Northern Suburbs
Phil Kavanagh0402 232 014Lives at Hornsby but will collect from anywhere north of the harbour
Keith Pester0414 571 487Sydney Northern Beaches
Michael Syme0423 513 260Happy to collect swarms in the following suburbs, Forestville, Belrose, Terrey Hills, Dee Why, Allambie, Freshwater, Manly and Mona Vale
Roger Murphy0438 617 308Sydney Northern Suburbs
Brian & Sigrid Visser0450 801 967
0404 784 398
Sydney Northern Suburbs
Jean-Claude Ferrier9997 1200
0403 336 266
Lives at Newport Beach but will collect from anywhere on the northern beaches
Rod Kay 0401 141 332Lower North Shore and City
Kelley Whitaker0468 350 626Will collect from Castlecrag,
Willoughby and Northbridge.
Happy to help other swarm collectors.
Allan Bull94162321
0410 479 889
Will collect within 10km radius of Lindfield
Ruth Collett9488 7964
0438 887 964
Will collect within 10km of St Ives.
Happy to help other swarm collectors.
Jen Kitching0411 561 972Westleigh and 10 km radius
Carl Lundberg0406 996 18310kms radius of Belrose
Michael Rayner0426 990 50910 km radius of Beecroft.
Happy to help other collectors.
Graeme Edwards0422 061337Lives in Berowra and happy to collect in this area and to the north

Michael Rayner0426 990 509Wants a swarm and is willing to help with swarm collections.