Australia Weather News

It has been so hot in Western Australia's mid-west that a local woman found honey dripping down the wall of her house, revealing a large bee infestation.

This week temperatures in Geraldton, 450 kilometres north of Perth, ranged from 38 to 41.5 degrees.

Gabby Forrester said she had known bees were using her unused, blocked off chimney as a hive for years but did not realise how much honeycomb was inside.

It turned out the honeycomb had melted in the heat, overflowing down the side of her home.

She said when her parents owned the house, they used to spray the bees in the chimney.

"The bees have lived here for about 20 years," Ms Forrester said.

"Since I've taken the house over for about eight years, I haven't had them sprayed and we have happily cohabited the house without getting in each other's way."

Not wanting to kill the bees, she called a local beekeeper for help.

"I have had Brian, the bee man, here and he has told me that the chimney is pretty much completely filled with honeycomb," Ms Forrester said.

Chimney a challenging task

Brian Kelly is a local bee enthusiast who relocates hives to his own property, where he harvests the honey to sell at markets.

He said it was the first chimney relocation he has had in his 15 years of beekeeping.

"There is no way I can get the bees out of there now and there is honey leaking down the wall of the chimney," Mr Kelly said.

"It is full of honeycomb up to the top.

"When they fill up the space the hive splits and they breed a new queen, one leaves with half the bees and starts a colony somewhere else."

He said he had tackled some challenging swarms in his time.

"That is the first one I have seen in a chimney," Mr Kelly said.

"But I have seen them just about everywhere, the worst one I had to do was get them out of a boat."

More awareness for bees

Western Australia's honey bee industry is known for its freedom of important bee diseases and pests, which occur in other parts of the world.

Mr Kelly said because of more education around the importance of bees, he has noticed less people fumigating in Geraldton.

In recent years he has gone from having five hives to 25.

"I don't like poison, I don't think I have poisoned any yet," Mr Kelly said.

"Normally I have been able to get most of the swarms, but there are some swarms you just can't get at and if they are not bothering the people you might as well leave them there."

Mr Kelly was able to relocate half of the bees in Ms Forrester's chimney, but getting the rest out would involve dismantling the structure.

Luckily, Ms Forrester said she would be happy for the bees to continue living in her walls.

"My parents used to spray, they are old farmers with the old mindset," she said.

"I haven't sprayed for years, knowing the state of the world's bee population, it didn't enter my mind to spray them.

"I'm actually thinking of putting a tap on the other side to see if I can get some honey out."