Bee swarm season begins

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    Southland Bee Society chairman Geoff Scott was called out to a bee swarm which took over a water tank in Otatara on Tuesday.

    WARMER weather in the south has heralded the start of bee swarm season.

    A couple in Otatara, near Invercargill, were surprised to find their water tank lid had been taken over by honey bees on Tuesday.

    Not knowing what to do, Carolynne Bingham phoned around the local councils until someone at Environment Southland gave her the number of someone from the Southland Bee Society.

    This came after advice from the Invercargill City Council to buy poison, she said.

    “I didn’t want to do that. They make honey, and who doesn’t like honey? I thought no, [it is a] living creature that keeps us all happy.”

    A swarm of bees which had taken over a water tank in Otatara on Tuesday.

    Information on the council website says it receives many calls about the control, removal or extermination of insects such as bees, fleas, flies, slaters, wasps and weta.

    “If you have an infestation of insects you can contact the council for advice, but, again, the removal and/or extermination is the responsibility of the property owner,” it says.

    Southland Bee Society chairman Geoff Scott spent the afternoon attempting to coax the bees and their queen on the water tank lid into a much more spacious box.

    He said it was the first time a member of the public had called for his help this season, but “they don’t normally make their home at the top of a water tank”.

    This year looked to be a good one for bees, he said.

    “This is the start of the season… As they are now expanding, the queen is laying faster and faster and needs more room.”

    At the end of November there would be a “nectar flow” – one was already happening now.

    “The bees are making new homes while the going is good.”

    If someone came across a swarm, the easiest thing to do was to contact the local bee club or society, he said.

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