Thanks for the replies.
It sounds like that swarm was some bee excitement for sure. I think that catching bees is about the most fun you can have. Can you tell us the story, Steve?
I've lost more hives than had success here, so I'm reluctant to do a couple of tree cutouts I know about. There is such a difference between my beekeeping and that of my aussie 'cousins', with too many swarm call outs to know what to do with, and booming hives with so much liquid gold they can't sell it all. In July I had reached the bottom of my honey tub when there were 4 minimally full frames to extract. So I've always had just enough honey and I've never lost all my hives at once.
Most of the year I think the bees live off dirt and rocks here. The bloodwood generally comes out in January, the most common tree here. Other years there have only been the odd blossom erupt, so it will be interesting to see if the rain has helped. We've planted a lot to help them out, but it's going to take the gum trees a long time to flower. I'll check for a new queen after a month, about the 10th of January.
It rained nearly all year, Ken, and the wet season started about 4 months earlier than other years I've been here. The DPI took a couple of sick chooks to test, so I'll let you know the results when I hear them. Commercial chicken farmers do not like the idea of chicken hobbyists, and it is nearly impossible here to vaccinate poultry. Most of mine have died or show symptoms, so I might be left with just a pair.