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Dealing with a gone feral close-by Bee Colony

Hello, I’m a full on newbie and these guys are how I ended up here. (Flow2 on its way)

Over the last few years I have been seeing an increasing amount of Honey Bees (and Natives) in my gardens, there are many of them, especially now when it is dry as I water them daily.
It is to the point that they will land and crawl on me in the garden, get in my hair, etc etc…
so I just became more and more interested and accustomed to these little ones in my life.
I feed the animals and water my bee’s :crazy_face::sweat_smile::cowboy_hat_face:

I am lucky enough to live next to a National Park and fairly well removed from anyone living nearby. Mostly National Park as neighbour, and def no boxes on other neighbours property.

I am looking to buy my first Nuc soon (anyone in South East Queensland that can help me out in finding a Nuc?)

My concerns are

  1. could they be an issue for my Nuc? (attacks, take over, disease?)

  2. given they will probably swarm eventually, should I invest in a Nuc Box and be ready “just incase”? Maybe a Brood Box as well?
    (also this question runs side by side with question 1, Should I be ready with a box, regardless, so I have another option for them to swarm too if they are attracted to the other bee’s?
    I really do think they will probably go to another place in the forest…)
    I assume there is no chance a nu-bee like me could acquire these lot, up front? They are very placid bees
    (I do have a lifetime of farming and living on the land experience, husbandry and nature are not a new thing)
    Given that they have “gone feral” or are a few swarms off of whatever box they run off from, I figure they may not be too keen on a straight up Brood Box placement…

sorry, dis-jointed post. LoL lots to learn and think on.
thank you in advance to any help offered :slight_smile:

Hi Gae,
There is always a lot to think about with bees much the same as any other livestock. Your concerns are justified and ‘Yes’ you may experience all of those concerns, but there are rewards too.

This does happen from time to time, yet in saying that I have many hives in different locations all together and the rarely attack each other… in fact I have only seen it once when the robbed out a starter Nuc but it was full of honey and the bees numbers protecting the Nuc were very low.

Very likely, all bee colonies will swarm eventually, there are steps you can take to minimise this but it doesn’t always work. Yes, Always keep an extra set of equipment… for each hive I keep an extra base, brood/super box, a lid and frames ready to go. I also keep a smaller Nuc box in case of catching a swarm. Between now (August and December) is prime swarming season. So I put out an empty hive in the yard away from all the other hives for those wayward swarms, they do prefer boxes 8-10 frames in size as they are looking to setup home and so a Nuc box is not as inviting. They will only go into the forest if there is nothing worthwhile in your yard or neighbouring areas.

If you were to put a box out as described above there is a chance that a local swarm will come, if any are about. I use a product called “Swarm Commander” it works a treat in attracting bee swarms.

Bees are bees, feral or managed… they all behave the same.


It is a bit early to buy a nuc if you wanted to go that way, it is still a bit cool. But maybe you should consider setting a brood box up, either 8 or 10 frame, and ‘bait’ it with a drop of ‘Brood Commander’ or ‘Lemon Grass Extract’ to attract a scout bee to find the box, and just a brood box with a base board and roof and frames. No super needed. You might catch a swarm when swarming season happens down your way.
I prefer 8 frame boxes, lighter to lift when it is full of honey. As for nuc boxes I have had mixed results with absconding as the bees soon out grow the space, like in a few weeks. I have not had a colony abscond from 8 frame hives providing they have a super and work to do, but you also need to consider having the need to do splits.
If you don’t catch a swarm and you can’t find a bee group a bit closer that might have members who sell colonies, then @JeffH at Buderim or I’m at Coolum Beach either of us can fix you up with a colony of bees.
Cheers and welcome to the forum, you will find lots of reading and helpful advice here.

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Hi Gae, I’m drawn to your user name because the Bunya tree is my favourite tree & I consider myself a Bunya Nut nut, among other types of nuts, such as a potato nut, a bee nut, etc. Let me know if I can help you with a nuc. I have some ready to go, cheers.


Jeff- I watched the videoas- and I can confirm: YOU ARE A BUNYA NUT NUT.

I had never heard of Bunya nuts before I watched your entertaining and informative videos on the subject…

@bunya.nut Like Peter I prefer 8 frames for the ease of lifting and working. And as to buying a nuc box: YES. You’ll for sure end up needing one for many tasks here and there: catching swarm, storing and transporting frames, making splits, etc. A sound investment: all my Nuc boxes paid themselves off i the first year… Get wax dipped painted ones. It always pays to have beekeeping equipment ready BEFORE you need it.

as to catching local bees- there is certainly something to be said for catching wild bees that have already proved to be successful in your area. However you need to keep more of an eye on them to make sure they have no diseases, and have the traits you want: not too aggressive- and productive. You can always re-queen them later with a bread queen if they under-perform… having a nuc box out with some empty frames and a few drops of lemongrass oil inside might be all it takes to catch a swarm if you are lucky- spring swarm time is just around the corner.

Bunya pine trees are only found in a few locations in Queensland where they grow wild, one place being in the Bunya Mountains National Park about 200 klms N/W of Brisbane. The nut is editable and very tasty - so I have heard. I guess they must be as I have never seen them for sale even out that way at roadside vegie stalls. Queensland is full of nuts Jack, we also have the Macadamia Nut which is commercially grown and exported as well as Pea-Nuts too.
I have 3 nuc boxes that I have had for about 4 years and never used one yet. A swarm I caught in a banana tree his past Summer went straight into an 8 frame brood box, as I do with my splits. I have never had absconding so I guess the bees find their new hive ok for size and I don’t have to disturb them till I am ready to check for brood and check all is good.

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Hi Pete, would you believe I just happen to have some Bunya nuts in the freezer for you to try next time you’re down.

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I can’t argue with that mate.


Thanks Skeggs, I guess I set myself up for that one. :rofl:


I have heard that they can be pretty lethal - if they fall on your head from 20 meters up! :rofl: :astonished: :crazy_face:

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Your thinking of Coconuts, if they are not picked they eventually fall from the tree. The coconut you buy from a shop has a really thick husk around it, about 1" or more thick, so it is a formidable whack on the head if you are under one as it falls. They are a tropical fruit around the world, and yes, a hit on the head is fatal usually.

I don’t think so… We have had this discussion on this forum before, and some people have commented on cones as big as the one in the photo in this article. I do my research, sir! :crazy_face:

So look out above if you are in Bunya pine country! :smile:


The Bunya nuts come in a cone that can weigh up to 10kg apparently. I’ve seen them up to 6 kilos. The cone drops to the ground from the high part of the tree, then sits there for about 10 or more days before opening up to release the nuts to nature. Wilma & I saw the damage a cone did to a car a while back. It would have certainly killed a person.

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So a bit like an oversized Banksia cone then where the nuts are numerous in a single ‘pod’. Maybe I saw a pod with out realizing it then mate. I will add that to my bucket list. They are really huge trees.

Yes for sure, there are some nice specimens nearby, however not as big as some of the giants in the Bunya Mountains. You will only find the nuts on the ground after the cones have opened up during Jan. to early Feb.

Freezing the nuts doesn’t deteriorate them at all. The ones I cook for you will be as good as fresh.

A bit more research and you would find that coconuts kill a lot more people, can’t find reference to Bunya Nuts killing but accept it could happen. I also do research, but maybe open to other possibles to Madam. :smile: There is no record of a Bunya nut cone having fallen and killed anyone, maybe that is because of good luck.

So they have to be cooked to be edible, I wonder if the Aboriginals cooked them on a fire and were a part of their food supplies? I guess local trees here are man planted?

Coconuts kill more people because so many billions of people live underneath them. I nearly got brained by a cocount in Thailand- missed me by just two feet.

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I remember a guy laying in the park lands along the shore in Cairns years ago, I assumed he was ‘sleeping it off’ but alas the next day he was still there. A victim of a Coconut according to the news. The story was that the police went to ‘move him on’ as a drunk. It seems to be fairly common in the tropics with near misses and ‘dead hits’.

Hi Peter, the aborigines used to put their tribal differences aside & meet at the Bunya Mountains to feast on the Bunya nuts. The trees were all over S.E. Qld. apparently. I think early logging wiped a lot out. There are a lot of good specimines around Palmwoods & up the range & Maleny.

The Bunya is a living fossil. It has a close cousin that’s native to the Andes. It also has edible nuts & was also a food source for the local indigenous people. It’s the Monkey Puzzle Tree (Araucaria araucana).

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