Residential Native Bee Swarm

We purchased our first hive (Tetragonula Carbonaria) several months back and all seemed to be going well and they had settled in. Whilst we live in a residential area, we have quite an extensive garden which was focussed on providing food for our new native bees, there is also extensive natural bush about 60m away.

5 days ago our first swarm occured, we are aware of other native bees as we would see them prior to our hive purchase, I suspect they are coming from the natural bush area. The swarm is still ongoing.

Reading The Australian Native Bee Book by Tim Heard, it seems to imply that we are not to worry, but it doesn’t seem to indicate how long the swarming will continue for. I still have concerns we will be left with an empty box.

Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.

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Hi Lloyd, I have native bees at Buderim. TC’s as well. You could be observing a “fighting swarm”. What you could do to stop the fighting is to lock the bees up in the early morning before taking the hive at least a kilometer away for a while. I wonder how you would go if you got a second empty hive, place some brood in, then put it on the original site. The bees that want to take over your hive may move in to the empty hive. I guess if you did that, you could avoid locking the bees up early morning. Just remove the brood, with some bees, put it into the new hive, then take the old hive away, replacing it with the new hive. @Bean19 had a TC hive that got taken over by a TH colony. The bees don’t mind the brood from a different species, so I found out. Once the bees emerge, they happily work side by side, with TC’s building light colored wax, while TH’s build dark colored wax.


Thank you for the swift response JeffH. Looks like we have been caught out and ill prepared for caring for native bees. Have a lot of reading to do. very much like the second option as it will hopefully leave us with two hives. Just need to find someone to purchase a second hive box from.

Also, as our hive is just a single layer at the moment, need to learn how to identify the brood part and how much to cut out to move.

Hi Lloyd, I just now finished watching a video from UQ Science on stingless bees. It’s very informative & clearly shows the difference between honey & brood. Sadly they show the results of fighting swarms with thousands of dead & dying bees on the ground, which I believe can be avoided simply by moving the targeted hive away.

If you’re ever in Buderim, you can feel free to pop in because I have observation panels under the roofs, that way you can see the bees working & the difference between brood & honey/pollen.

PS. the title of the video is: “BrisScience (June 2020) The science of stingless bees”.


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Thank you Jeff, very much appreciated. Very interested in the visit, will get in touch again when we are heading up that way.

You’re welcome Lloyd, our ph. no is easy to find.

Hi Jeff, have watched the relevant parts of the video, feeling a lot more educated and confident. Will look at purchasing another box from the person we purchased the original hive from in the near future, either to be prepared for the next swarm, or if the current one is still going, capture it. :slight_smile:

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