Feral European bees

This post is not intended to be controversial or divisive it’s just putting information forward from a different perspective.
I’m a livestock farmer 7 days a week with an obsessive beekeeping hobby, which I do with all my spare time.
I live in an area where feral bee colonies are in abundance. I’m talking serious abundance. There is a lot of talk about the decline in bee population but in my area they have become a real pest. My property is well wooded with predominantly pink gums, stringy barks and a few blue gums. At an estimate 1 in 4 trees would have at least 1 feral colony in them and one blue gum I know of has 6 separate colonies in it. A commercial beekeeper mate of mine expanded his business 3 years ago by setting swarm traps around my property. He was blown away catching 63 swarms in one season and running out of trap hives. The bees are becoming a major problem for native animals, particularly birds, with much of their habitat being occupied with European bees.
As a farmer it also impacts my business. The bees certainly impact me positively with crop polination. In the summer months however it is a real curse. My livestock rely on water supplied to them via troughs. The bees also rely on stealing this water for survival. I don’t have a problem supplying their water it’s just that in the heat of the day when the livestock need water they are unable to access water troughs for clouds of millions of buzzing bees. It also creates a big workload for me this time of the year having to clean the troughs up to a couple of times a day as all the drowning bees foul the water to a point where animals refuse to drink. Not to mention all the stings I receive while cleaning troughs. I have had to replace my large open top concrete water storage tanks with poly ones as again the bees drown in them fouling the water.
This abundance of bees is what got me into bee keeping some years ago as I hated exterminating Swarms from farm sheds and buildings, I saw them more as a resource than a pest. And I have been hooked on the art of beekeeping ever since.
I guess the moral of my rant is that the honey bees are 100 %vital to our existence but we do need to remember that they are not native to our country and they need to be well managed not to imbalance our diverse ecosystems and farming enterprises.
Again this is not meant to be controversial, just putting some information out there.


Thank you so much for sharing this @TimG.

What you’ve explained is an incredibly huge density of honey bees, to an extent that I’d never heard of! I assume there is massively reduced disease pressure for the bees in your location and incredible habitat and forage.

I’d recommend contacting PIRSA to understand their knowledge and support on the matter if you don’t know already.

I don’t think there’s much controversy in pointing out that an introduced insect is putting further pressure on our native species. They’re important as pollinators but primarily for introduced plants. Most native species rely on native bees, birds and bats which must now contend with what can be aggressive and dangerous intruders. It’s sad but as much as I love bees I do think there needs to be done kind of balance. Feral dogs and cats are a serious problem, much as we value their domesticated brothers and sisters and bees are no different. Better minds than mine need to be turned on to the problem as do vast material resources which, under the system of “profit over all else”, is not going to happen.