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New policy is the bees’ knees

Conserving the environment’s precious pollinators is a focus for us in managing the network’s assets with a new policy to rehome bees.

Bee hives are often found in green domes, attached to poles or located in substations posing a risk to electricity supply, the safety of our people when maintaining the network and the bees themselves. In the last few months alone, we have undertaken 12 bee relocations in the metropolitan area.

Western Power Environment Head, Andy Shaw, said the new policy now meant bee removal contractors must either collect the bees, or if this was not possible, use proven methods and best endeavours to encourage as many bees as possible to leave the hive.

“Our contractors use smoke to sedate the bees and then set up a bee bait box next to the hive to allow the bees to exit their current hive and go directly into the box,” he said.

“The box remains in place to ensure maximum collection of bees, usually up to 48 hours, and then collected for rehoming. Once bees are collected, the entry into the old hive is sealed to prevent bees from re-entering.”

Using a bee bait box to remove bees from a Western Power green dome

Mr Shaw said Western Power used a network of Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development registered apiarists for metropolitan and regional collections.

“We always contact our customers before any bee rehoming work is undertaken and encourage people to contact us on 13 10 87 if they find a bee hive on their green dome or on a Western Power pole near their houses,” he said.

“We will endeavour to collect and relocate the bees safely with minimal impact on residents. We have received positive feedback and responses from our customers regarding our new approach and it’s great to be helping the environment as part of our work.”

Andy said the new bee rehoming policy was part of our commitment to delivering sustainable outcomes through appropriate planning and maintenance of the grid.

“Having a sustainable approach in managing our natural environment is a key priority for us.”

Bees at Riverton substation

The bees who built this hive at Riverton substation were rehomed earlier in 2019 

Beehive at Western Power's Vasse depot

A local bee community took up residence at our Vasse depot earlier this year

Beehive in a Western Power green dome

This beehive was formed inside a green dome