Bees are creating a buzz around the country right now with many people alarmed by swarms of the insects gathering inside their homes.
Residents in Sydney's eastern suburbs are spotting "hundreds" of bees flying through the streets and in their homes, confused by what's going on.
"Has anyone else been experiencing lots of bees coming into their flat in Coogee?" one person asked in a community Facebook group during this week's Sydney heatwave. "I don't want to keep my windows shut in this weather."
Many responded from surrounding areas incluing Coogee, Bronte, Randwick, Waverley and Hillsdale saying they noticed the same thing.
"Woke up to hundreds of them in the bathroom light fitting trying to escape. They got in from a missing brick on the outside and ended up in the ceiling. Hundreds buzzing outside waiting to get in," one person said.
"I have a swarm at the side of my house getting bigger by the day and I really don't want to kill them," another said. "We had like 30 buzzing around in each bathroom," another said.
Why are there so many bees flying around?
While the sudden shift in bee sightings may seem unusual, the reason is purely seasonal, says Bill the Bee man, who has 25 years of experience in beekeeping.
"Bees will grow and the queen decides the hive needs more space," he told Yahoo News Australia. "After the new queen hatches, the old one and some worker bees leave the beehive in search of a new home."
Bill said that "unfortunately in urban areas, there are not as many places bees can stay," which is why they might seek shelter in people's homes, whether it's in weep holes (common in brick homes that help keep moisture away from the structure), ceilings or through a window.
"They are desperately looking for a home and they are vulnerable to predators such as birds, so they attach to a house or a tree," he said, adding that in a lot of cases the old queen and her worker bees don't succeed in making a new hive and don't survive.
What should people do if they see bees in their house?
Seeing many bees inside the home can be unnerving, especially for those who are allergic or are worried about their children or pets.
However there are some measures people can take. "If they go into a weep holes, it's almost game over because its hard to get them across brickwork," Bill said. "I recommend using a small wooden or cardboard box with essential oils and hopefully that'll attract the bees that might choose the box over the wall. Beekeepers can then pick up the box and relocate them safely.
"If there are a few bees in the home, and you're not allergic, you can try catch them with a glass and paper like you would with a spider and relocate them, as well as temporarily block weep holes and vents. If there's too many, open a window if possible... they want to try go back outside too."
Sydney's Bayside Council recently issued a warning about swarming bees, recommending children and pets are kept inside for half an hour or so until flying bees have "clustered on to a bush or other object" and to "keep shoes on in case you step on the odd bee".
"Swarms will relocate to their new hive within 1-3 days."
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