Homeless Mandurah bees being relocated to new homes

Fourth generation beekeeper Mark Patterson and daughter Amari.
One of the biggest beehives the Patterson's have removed this year.
Amari is a seven-year-old beekeeper.
Joanne Patterson.
Fourth generation beekeeper Mark Patterson and daughter Amari. One of the biggest beehives the Patterson's have removed this year. Amari is a seven-year-old beekeeper. Joanne Patterson.

IN Mandurah, a beekeeper is on call to catch and remove swarms of bees that settle in awkward places this time of year.

Mark Patterson is a fourth generation beekeeper who preserves and relocates swarms free of charge.

This time of year, he can receive upward of ten calls a day from people wanting swarms removed.

Mr Patterson’s wife Joanne said bees were dormant in winter so spring and summer were their busiest times.

From late August swarms of bees start to move when their number becomes too numerous for one hive, Mrs Patterson said.

“A bunch will split off and start their own colony,” she said.

“Often they will rest while the scouts go on the hunt for a suitable location, but will move on within a day or two to the new location.

“We normally advise people to leave them be for 48 hours, but sometimes they settle in inconvenient places – roofs, cubby houses etc and then we will come relocate them.”

Mr Patterson has made beekeeping an intergenerational hobby – with daughter Amari following in his footsteps.

The gorgeous seven-year-old received her own beekeeping suit for her sixth birthday.

Mr Patterson received a citizenship award last year for his involvement in the preservation of bees and relocating swarms free of charge.

The couple sell fresh local honey to recoup the costs of relocating the bees.

“We currently have around 50 hives, all kept at local properties around the Peel area,” Mrs Patterson said.

“We pay the property owners in honey and in return, they get bees pollinating their crops.

“The honey then helps people suffering allergies and other health issues as using local, raw honey is medicinally beneficial.”

In the United States, bees are now listed as endangered, Mrs Patterson said.

Mrs Patterson said Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in the world that can sell raw unpasteurised honey for consumption.

“Australia and NZ have some of the healthiest bees in the world,” she said.

“The medicinal benefit of raw honey has seen a growth in demand in countries such as China.

“In fact most pest controllers in Mandurah will now contact us to help relocate a swarm rather than terminate them.

“There is a mutual respect for the species and their importance.”