When a large swarm of bees arrived at her home three weeks ago, Melros woman Carmen Carmody wasn’t sure what to do.
She jumped on Facebook to ask if anyone else had the problem, and what she should do.
“I had a beekeeper contact me, explaining what the bees do, how they will send out scouts to look for a new hive location, and they’ll usually go report back to the queen… they might come back at a later time to move in,” Ms Carmody said.
“People said ‘don’t kill them, don’t kill them.’”
By sunset the bees were gone.
However, it was not the last she would hear of the bees.
“On Monday they came back with a vengeance, and just moved right on it,” she said.
“You could hear them scurrying in the walls of the house, ‘cos we’re in a bit of an older house, so if there was any little holes in the brick mortar or anything, they were just coming straight into the wall cavity.”
Ms Carmody said about a dozen bees even made their way inside the house itself.
As footage Ms Carmody filmed shows, the swarm was loud and prolific: she said hearing them inside the walls was like a scary movie.
“Talking to my friends or family I sound really dramatic, but until it has happened to you… it was terrifying,” she said.
Not wanting the bees to be killed, she contacted several local beekeepers to help remove them, but with no luck.
“Once they have moved in, then it’s past the point of being able to relocate them, especially being in the wall cavity,” she said.
“Basically the only way that you’d be able to get to them would be to cut the wall open… therefore the only option, other than to tear the house walls down, was sadly to destroy the bees.”
She said it was sad to have to resort to extermination, and hoped her experience could warn others.
“I wish that I had got the beekeeper out the first time they rocked up, because... that’s obviously when they decided it was a good spot,” Ms Carmody said.
“If they do rock up, and hang around for a little bit of time, then call a beekeeper to come… they can get the queen and the swarm and safely relocate them.”
President of the Western Australian Apiarists Society Ian Beeson said this kind of behaviour is normal for bees at this time of year.
“Spring time is usually when they nest,” he said.
“The queen takes half the hive and swarms away to make a new one.”
He said they could stop anywhere to rest up, and will “ball” for protection, until the scout bees find a new home for them to settle.
Many people notice these “balls” on their cars and in other exposed areas.
“They’ll be in a spot for two or three days, and then they’ll move on,” Mr Beeson said.
“Other times if it’s suitable and protected they might start making a nest there, but usually they like to make it somewhere were it’s sheltered and closed in, not out in the open.”
Visit waas.org.au/Swarm-Collectors for a list of contractors available for assistance.
For more on bees, read: Warm weather sets bees on the move.