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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1180 asked in the Legislative Council on 17 October 2019 by Hon Simon O’Brien

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 17 October 2019

BEEKEEPING — SWARM PROTECTION

1180. Hon SIMON O'BRIEN to the Minister for Agriculture and Food:

What reassurance can the government offer to beekeepers concerned that bee swarms need to be protected from extermination by pest control businesses?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for that question. I understand that many members have been contacted on this point. We have had an interesting response from the industry. It states —

As a result of people becoming increasingly aware of the environment, their footprint on the environment and where their food comes from, we have seen a significant increase in the number of backyard hobbyist beekeepers � the number of registered beekeepers � is over 3,000 �

As many budding beekeepers will no doubt find, it can be quite a bit harder than simply purchasing a hive and hoping the bees will take care of themselves. Particularly at this time of year when flowers are in full bloom, the hive will generate queen cells. If a beekeeper doesn't maintain their hive and remove these queen cells, once the new queen hatches, she will force the old queen out of the hive. As the old queen departs, a swarm of bees will go with her.

More frequently, this is how we end up in a situation where the swarm will attempt to make a new home in someone's house. Many of our Local Governments have a list of qualified people who are swarm collectors, which offer relocation services � However, regrettably there are circumstances where the swarms find themselves in a location, such as a wall cavity, where it is simply impractical to remove them and extermination is the only solution.