An Armidale man is offering a free service to residents who wish to get rid of unwanted backyard bee hives.
Troy Gerdes, also known as the “swarm chaser”, said he tapped into the buzzing new trade about 12 months ago.
“A mate of mine is right into bees and so talking to him about it spiked my interest,” he said.
“I started reading up and I’ve been fascinated ever since… they’re incredible!”
Mr Gerdes said while he did grow up with bees, his interest for them did not come until many years later.
“My father had bees and I had absolutely no interest in them at all,” he said.
“Now I’ve been researching them for the last two years.”
The bee catching service is designed to relocate unwanted backyard bee’s nests rather than kill them, said Mr Gerdes.
“I’ve spoken to the pest control guys in town and I’ve told them that I will come and take bees if someone rings them,” he said.
“I’ve also got a couple of mates who can help and take the bees away.
“While they’re swarming, and they only swarm for about 20 minutes, they’ll hang in a tree and that’s when people see the big bundle of bees.
“When they are like that they’re very calm and not aggressive at all so you can basically pick the Queen up and the bees will all hang, then you can just shake them into a box and take them away.”
From there Mr Gerdes puts them into a hive where they begin to draw comb and start producing honey.
Another reason Mr Gerdes was motivated to start the bee catching service is due to the threat of their extinction.
“Bee's are being listed endangered in the United States,” he said.
“Just recently we’ve had Verroa mite, a little mite that lives on the bee, and that’s what’s killing them out Australia-wide.
“It will either drive them out of the hive or kill them.”
With his service officially up and running, Mr Gerdes is now hoping to start a bee club in Armidale.
“Basically there’s a lot of people with an interest in bees and a lot of people want a hive in their backyard because they’re absolutely fascinating,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to lots of people in town who are very keen to get into it but have no knowledge of how to do things.
“Hands-on experience is really good.
“There’s a couple of guys in town who have been running courses.
“But what I want to do is get a central point where people can get equipment… like spinners and boxes.
“It would be a cooperative of everyone helping each other out and in turn that helps with the bees too,” Mr Gerdes said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.