Swarm of bees on a sign in Bathurst St, near the corner of Campbell St i Hobart's CBD. Picture: RICHARD JUPE
Swarm of bees on a sign in Bathurst St, near the corner of Campbell St i Hobart's CBD. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

Bee swarm creates a buzz in Hobart

HOBART commuters are being treated to an un-bee-lievable sight with bees swarming over a sign in Bathurst St near the corner of Campbell St.

The bees, spotted this afternoon, take up much of the roadwork sign.

Australian Honeybee Industry Council chairman Lindsay Bourke said swarms like this happen every year as some bees leave their hive on the search for a new home.

"Every hive multiplies once a year. The old queen goes off and leaves her replacement daughters ready to hatch, kill each other until there's only one left, the daughter comes out … takes over old colony," Mr Bourke said.

Swarm of bees on a sign in Bathurst St, near the corner of Campbell St i Hobart's CBD. Picture: RICHARD JUPE
Swarm of bees on a sign in Bathurst St, near the corner of Campbell St i Hobart's CBD. Picture: RICHARD JUPE

 

Lindsay Bourke, chairman of the Australian Honeybee Industry Council. Picture: HEATH HOLDEN/THE AUSTRALIAN
Lindsay Bourke, chairman of the Australian Honeybee Industry Council. Picture: HEATH HOLDEN/THE AUSTRALIAN

"The old queen takes half the bees to establish a new colony. They send scouts out looking for a suitable place, come back to report it, then fly to the new place.

Mr Bourke said it was hard to stop them swarming.

In commercial beekeeping, apiarists use this natural swarming tendency to create new bee colonies.

"We have to prevent them [swarming]. We artificially swarm them, we divide them by taking a split off the main hive. It's just like taking a cutting off a tree. That takes the pressure of them."

Mr Bourke said bees in southern Tasmania are on the move after waiting out the cold weather. He said bees need to finish swarming by the middle of December, so this future colony has just beaten the deadline.

Mr Bourke said there was little risk to passers-by.

"There are always children who throw stones at them. The safest thing to do is leave them alone."