Inner city buzz causes alarm at lunch time

Apiarist John Graham, of Bennie's Honey, coaxes bees into a box after complaints regarding a swarm in George St, Dunedin, yesterday afternoon. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Apiarist John Graham, of Bennie's Honey, coaxes bees into a box after complaints regarding a swarm in George St, Dunedin, yesterday afternoon. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The Dunedin lunch-time swarm came with a sting in its tail for inner-city pedestrians yesterday.

Calls from concerned pedestrians about a large swarm of bees prompted the Dunedin City Council to call out John Graham, of Bennie's Honey.

The nest was in a cherry tree on the site of the new Lone Star restaurant in George St.

Bees could be seen flying around the pavement, and startling passersby.

Mr Graham said it was "swarm month at the moment", and this had been amplified by the presence of varroa in the city.

The key to dealing with a swarm was to move the bees, and particularly the queen, into a box - "once you have the queen, then all the bees will go in there anyway".

Although no bees were harmed in the shift, Mr Graham sported two stings for his troubles.

"I don't really notice any more, but one day I might have one too many."

Mr Graham said bees were quite docile when swarming, as all they wanted to do was stay with the queen.

"They want to stay with her and she has a very strong scent, and I use air freshener to stop the scent of the queen staying on the tree."

He estimated the hive, which had been sprayed for varroa, contained between 8000-10,000 bees and could be producing honey by Christmas.

-hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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