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Making a noisy beeline for gardens

Date

Ian Warden

For some Canberrans the monotony of suburban life may be about to be interrupted in a dramatic way. One association warns of a phenomenon resembling ''a black moving cloud, noisy as a jet … about the size of a soccer ball'' that may be about to come hurtling down into a garden just like yours.

No, its not a UFO. Paul Zarb of the ACT Beekeepers Association warns that this is ''bee swarming time … the time of the year Mother Nature starts to burst back to life with new growth, bringing out … our free pollinators, the European honey bee.''

''This is the time of the year bees start swarming. A swarm of bees will be of many thousands and it could appear like a black moving cloud, about the size of a soccer ball, noisy as a jet, and may land on a branch at your place. They may move on in a few days but may stay on to build a hive. They may also take up residence in compost bins, wall cavities in your home.''

Don't be alarmed. ''In the swarming mood and landed on a branch or the like, the swarm is generally calm. The bees are loaded with honey and have no interest coming after you if left alone.''

He warns us that we shouldn't make our own amateurish attempts to move the bees. We will get stung.

He counsels that ''If a swarm lands at your place, leave them alone and/or call Canberra Connect to give you the name of a beekeeper in your area or look on the web at actbeekeepers.asn.au.''

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