Western Australian Apiarists' Society

Blog

<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
  • 24 Jun 2017 8:17 PM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)

    When trying to identify the fuzzy face in the picture used at the beginning of the March Smoke Signals, which was of a newly hatched Apis mellifera scutellata - African Honey Bee (not to be confused with Africanised bees) also featured in this edition of Smoke Signals, I stumbled across a web site - African Honey Bee.  Drawn in by the photos I began to read... Not information about Apis mellifera scutellata as it turns out but a "Social Enterprise that enables families from severely disadvantaged rural communities to build sustainable micro-beekeeping businesses – producing raw honey of unrivalled taste and quality, using environmentally-friendly and ethical beekeeping practises" to quote them directly.  They are based in Hazyview, a small farming town in Mpumalanga, South Africa, close to the Kruger National Park.

    Almost all ‘honey bee related press’ that we read is focused on what people should be doing to save the honey bee, and that is definitely important, but I wanted to understand how these honey bees were saving the people…   
     
    Talking with Guy Stubbs, the leadership team member responsible for beekeeper development, was a lesson in affecting change at a fundamental level.  A ‘hand-up’ rather than a ‘hand-out’,  the ‘African Honey Bee’ has a solid foundation of hope, transformation, learning and support.  They work to transform communities by empowering people with knowledge, understanding, confidence and ongoing encouragement and support to improve their own quality of life, using and caring for their available natural resources and environment.
     
    I remember the beginning of my ‘beekeeping journey’ - “1. Let’s start keeping bees; 2. Who in Perth sells beekeeping stuff?; 3. OK, what do we need - suits, gloves, smoker, hive stuff, tools, bees… here’s my money; 4. Let’s set it all up”.  But coming from a base of almost zero financial resources, training for the beekeepers is a little different… Day 1 - this is what gloves, veil, a smoker, hive tool etc. are, this is how they work, this is what you need to make them… Day 2 - using what you have found in you home and community - make your gloves and veil, hive tool and smoker… next they tackles 'hive making' in the same way, this is how it works, lets make them...

                  

    Surely it would seem quicker and easier to obtain appropriate funding, buy the equipment that you need to 'do things properly', train anyone interested and give them what they need.  Guy was quick to comment that this 'handout; system has been tried by a large number of organisations across a wide range of projects and failed just as many times... Why?  because it does not empower people, it does not support people to believe that, after so many decades of having nothing, that they can stand up and support themselves, their families, and build strong communities.  Transformation comes from experience, the pride that comes from self-reliance and the belief that they have the ability to affect permanent change.

                

    In other parts of South Africa over R240 million has been spent on beekeeping projects with potential beekeepers been given pre-assembled hives, processing facilities and tools; these programs have failed to established successful, sustainable businesses'.  In contrast the African Honey Bee Company has supported over 2600 small scale Swaziland beekeepers to establish micro-franchise (small-scale producers sharing in the benefits of collective processing and sales) - not one has been given a hive or protective clothing and they are thriving - it would seem that the African Honey Bee model of 'empowerment, mentorship and support' works.

    The benefits to the communities seem almost endless with families becoming self sufficient, community farming,  nutrition and health improving, school attendance and performance on the rise, a number of related programmes developing in schools, people returning to their communities from the city, a significant decrease in wildfires across the area and bee numbers significantly increasing which, of course, is where this all began...

    So, with a little focus and support from some very dedicated people, the African Honey Bee is helping rural people to break an age-old poverty cycle.  I have not even scratched the wax coating from the corner of this story...  if you would like to read more please go to http://www.africanhoneybee.co.za/ and also have a look at their product website - the fabulously named Eat Naked

                                        

    Want to help? - https://www.givengain.com/c/africanhoneybee/           


    “My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off."  Proverbs 24:13-14

  • 24 Jun 2017 7:28 PM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)

    Until recently, no one really knew where all the bees were going; sure lots was being said and published about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), but people didn’t really know why.
     
    A number of possibilities were considered - parasites, pesticides, even cell phone tower radiation. But no one could explain why, instead of returning to their hives, bees seemed to simply vanish.
     
    Recent studies have begun to identify a major player - neonicotinoids, a group of chemicals found in almost all insecticide. In 2012 and 2014, studies were published linking neonic exposure to disappearing bees; subsequent studies found that these chemicals can also affect bees’ navigational abilities and fine motor skills. Though CCD may not have a single root cause, and though these findings didn’t fully explain it, it started to seem likely that neonics are at least partially to blame.
     
    Further research has demonstrated that a common neonic's profoundly impacted the way bees fly - and it starts to explain why, instead of dying in the fields, honeybees sometimes seem to disappear instead; it makes bees go haywire even in small doses.
     
    If you have used insect spray you will have noticed the disturbing way insects wriggle themselves to death, with frantic spasm of limbs and wings.  This motion is because the toxin binds to receptors in neurons causing the frenzy, immediately after exposure. With bees, we’re not exposing them to toxic doses - but even at the sub-lethal dose they could encounter in the field, they have this momentary increase in activity.
     
    These studies have shown that exposure amps a bee up and disrupts the neural pathways that connect a bee’s wing muscles to its brain resulting in uncontrolled flapping.  The bees fly in a zig-zagging, chaotic pattern that rapidly depletes their energy stores and, after a period of wild activity, the scientists found, the amount of movement would drop dramatically - a rush, and then a crash.
     
    Neonic-treated bees behaved very differently from the control group and, when given an opportunity, actually prefer neonic-treated water to plain water. 
     
    The test results were dramatic - while control bees flew an average of about 2km at a speed of 5.4 km/hr over the course of about 23 mins, bees treated with sublethal, field-standard amounts of neonic flew 78% longer and 72% further. That sudden increase in activity, combined with neonic’s disorientating effect, probably explains why so many bees aren’t returning to their hives.
     
    When reading about this problem a common thread emerges “the world is dependent upon cheap production of food to feed people, and it’s not realistic to say that no pesticides will be used at all on a commercial scale” so dropping neonics from the food supply entirely may not be feasible, but the findings are stark enough that we should rethink our approach.
     
    James Nieh, a professor at UC San Diego states “I think what we can do is talk about more effective, integrative pest management strategies, where we look at the problem holistically and ask what we can do to use pesticides a little as necessary. This would reduce the cost to the farmer, would reduce environmental contamination, and would be better for the bees.”

    So what can be done to reduce dependence on insecticides?  Some of the world’s largest food production companies have begun to make a change, using crop rotation and polyculture hedgerows to reduce their dependence on insecticides - surely these same practices could just as easily be applied to our own backyard gardens.

  • 05 Jun 2017 8:29 PM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)
    Following on from Section 5 of the Code - "Beekeepers Must Maintain Records of Biosecurity-related Actions and Observations" we move to our next instalment ''Hives Must be Appropriately Constructed and Branded"

    6. Hives must be appropriately constructed and branded'

    Hives (including swarm catch boxes) must be maintained in good condition to minimise the risk of disease spread.  If bees can only enter and leave the hive through the entrance designed by the hive manufacturer this will assist bees defend their hives from robber bees. 

    To facilitate the hive inspection required in Part B section 3 of the Code, all hives must have removable combs.  Top bar hives are permitted but only if the combs can be individually and separately removed from the hive for inspection; all hives must be branded in accordance with state or territory regulations.  

    Requirements

    6.1 A beekeeper must ensure that each hive (including swarm catch boxes) is manufactured and maintained so as to have intact external surfaces with bee access only permitted via specifically designed and manufactured access points. 

    6.2 All hives must be maintained in way that allows combs to be individually and separately removed from the hive for easy inspection.

    6.3 A hive placed for the purpose of catching bee swarms (a swarm catch box) must only contain foundation.  Frames already drawn or that contain brood, honey or pollen are not permitted.

    6.4 Each hive must be clearly and legibly marked with the beekeeper’s allocated hive identification code in accordance with relevant state or territory legislation.

    6.5 A hive placed for the purpose of catching bee swarms (swarm catch box) that is not on the property where the beekeeper normally resides must also be identified with the beekeeper’s name (or company name) and a contact telephone number, in characters at least 25 mm in height. 
     

    If you want to become a beekeeper in Western Australia, you need to register with the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA). Fees are set at the beginning of each financial year.
     

    For 2016-17 the fees are:

    Beekeeper Registration fee:                        $75 (for three years)

    Agricultural Produce Commission (APC)        $15 plus $1.10 per hive (annual fee)


    You will be issued with a licence and brand identification which must be printed on all your beekeeping equipment. 
     

                                             


    Next issue - Beekeepers Must Not Allow Hives, or Appliances to Become Exposed or Neglected.


  • 29 May 2017 8:20 PM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)
    Following on from the information on Section 4 of the Code - "Beekeepers Must Control or Eradicate Pests and Diseases and Must Manage Weak Hives" we move to our next instalment -  'Records of Biosecurity-related actions and Observations'

    5. Beekeepers Must Maintain Records of Biosecurity-related Actions and Observations

    Good record keeping is critical to good beekeeping and good biosecurity.  It provides a record of actions that were undertaken and accurate records are essential for tracing the source of disease outbreaks.   It is also important that records are contemporaneous, that is, they are made at, or close to, the time that the action or observation being recorded was taken. 

    The records required under this section of the Code are the minimum all beekeepers should keep of biosecurity-related actions and observations.

    5.1 All beekeepers must keep legible records of:

         a) The dates of all apiary inspections and observations from the inspections including an assessment of the overall strength of the hives in the apiary, any pests or diseases found in the hives and the method used for detection of arthropod pests.

        (b) Details of all actions taken to manage any pests or diseases in the apiary. 

        (c) Details of sampling method, date(s) of collection, testing body and the results of all honey tests or other independent assessments for the presence of American foulbrood.

         d) Details of movements of hives (including swarm catch boxes); including dates, numbers, geographic locations. 

         (e) Details of introductions of any bees and used hives or hive components (with or without bees) from external sources; including the date of introduction and the supplier or source.

         (f) Details of biosecurity-related training by the beekeeper and any employees of the beekeeper.

    5.2 Records may be paper-based or electronic. 

    5.3 Records must be retained for a minimum of 3 years.

    Example templates for record keeping are available at www.beeaware.org.au to assist beekeepers with compliance with this requirement.  

    These boots are only worn on the apiary sites, and were left in the owners 'kit box' for one week between  'hive dives'... What are you potentially taking in and out of your sites, or worse into someone else's apiary?


    The WA Department of Agriculture and Food provides excellent information on keeping your beehives free from disease - it can be found HERE

    Next issue - Hives Must be Appropriately Constructed and Branded
  • 11 May 2017 7:40 AM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)
    Following on from Section 3 -  'Exposure of bees to pests and diseases' we move to our next installment -  the 'Control and Eradication of pest and disease' and the management of weak hives. 

    Section 4 of the Code - "Beekeepers Must Control or Eradicate Pests and Diseases and Must Manage Weak Hives" If a beekeeper finds a pest or disease in a hive they must take appropriate steps to manage its impact on the infected hive(s) and to prevent its spread to other hives.  Robber bees provide a major pathway for the spread of infectious diseases so maintaining strong hives is an important preventative measure.   If the pest or disease is a notifiable disease it must be reported to the relevant authority and controlled and/or eradicated in accordance with state or territory legislation 
     
    As part of this management process, the Code requires the following of all Beekeepers

    4.1. A beekeeper must take all reasonable actions required to minimise the likelihood that a pest or disease detected in their hive will either weaken the hive or be transferred to another hive

    4.2 Any weak hive must be managed to ensure that it does not become attractive to robber bees

    4.3 Any dead hive or any hive with insufficient bees to prevent robbing by other bees must be immediately removed from the apiary and/or managed in a way that prevents robbing and renders the hive and any honey that may leak from the hive impervious to robber bees. 

    4.4 If a beekeeper identifies American foul-brood in a hive they must, after the field bees have returned to the hive, immediately isolate the affected hive and any contaminated appliances and take steps to prevent the risk of spread of disease from the hive.  This includes: 

              (a) Destruction of all bees in the hive, and  
              (b) rendering and maintaining the hive and appliances bee-proof until they are cleaned, sterilised or destroyed as appropriate.  In this context “bee-proof” means eliminating bee access to the affected appliances, hive and hive contents including honey that may leak from the hive.   

    4.5  If it is not reasonable to immediately implement the steps in 4.4 and the hive is not in danger of being robbed, they must be completed within seven (7) days.

    4.6 A beekeeper must eliminate American foul-brood from an infected hive by sterilisation or destruction as soon as is reasonable but, in any case, before sale or reuse of the hive. 

    American foul-brood (AFB) is the most significant bee disease already present in Australia and it can have a devastating impact on individual apiaries.  If AFB is detected, a beekeeper is required to take action to bee-proof the infected hive(s) and to destroy or sterilise the hive(s) as soon as practicable.  Elimination of AFB is part of good beekeeping and no compensation will be payable to the beekeeper for hives destroyed due to AFB infection unless an industry-funded compensation scheme is in effect in that state or territory.  


    Because antibiotics do not kill AFB spores but may mask the symptoms of the disease, their use to control AFB is prohibited.





    If you are unsure of what you are seeing when you complete your hive inspections - please find out... contact one of the members of the WAAS Committee, ask the question through our FaceBook page and / or - Ask Dr Google... the following web sites have some very useful information and pictures....

    Bee Informed - What's is that smell? - American Foul Brood!
    Agriculture Victoria Diagnosis of American Foul Brood 
    BeeAware - American Foul Brood

    Next issue - Records of Biosecurity-related actions and Observations


  • 08 May 2017 7:21 AM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)
    Following on from Section 1 -  'Good Bio-security' and "Training and Planning' the Code continues with expectations around pests and disease. 

    The Code states that "Exposure of bees to pests and diseases should be minimised. This can be achieved through maintaining strong bee colonies to prevent robbing of hives.  Bees, feed and equipment should only be obtained from a reliable and reputable source. Introduced bees should be segregated (quarantined) and tested pre-purchase or post-arrival to ensure freedom from disease. Second-hand equipment should be sterilised before introduction. Beekeepers must not allow other bees to access honey from their hives on plant and equipment."
     
    As part of this management process the Code requires the following of all Beekeepers

    1. Beekeepers Must Be Registered 
    - It is essential that there is an up to date register of beekeepers and their contact details so they can be notified quickly in the event of an emergency disease or natural disaster. It is also important that up to date information on the number of hives and beekeepers present in each state and territory of Australia is available to inform decisions on disease control and eradication.

    2. Beekeepers Must Report Notifiable Diseases - The prompt reporting of notifiable diseases is essential for control and eradication. Notifiable diseases include:
    • Africanised bees
    • American foulbrood disease
    • Braula fly (Braula coeca)
    • European foulbrood disease (not currently identified in WA)
    • Nosema (Nosema apis)
    • Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) (not currently identified in WA)
    • Tracheal mite (Acarapis woodi)
    • Tropilaelaps mite (Tropilaelaps clarae)
    • Varroa mite (Varroa destructor and Varroa jacobsoni) (not currently identified in WA)
    the BeeAware website has excellent information to assist beekeepers with the identification of these diseases and pests; the Dept. of Agriculture and Food (WA) is also a valuable resource. 

    3. Hives Must be Regularly Inspected for Pests and Diseases - The Code requires beekeepers to inspect their hives at least twice per year and keep accurate records of their finding. This is the minimum requirement for good bee husbandry and beekeepers are encouraged to inspect more frequently. 

    If you are at all unsure of what this all means to you as a hobbyist beekeeper then please ensure that you speak with one of the many experienced beekeepers within the WASS network, register for one or more of the training offered and ensure that you look after your bees so they can, in turn, look after us.      

    Next issue - Control or eradicate of pests and diseases and Management of weak hives.


  • 05 May 2017 1:01 PM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)
    Bio-security is by far the number one priority for all beekeepers - be you single 'home-hive' enthusiasts or a 'too many hives to count in a night' commercial operator... 

    The Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice (the Code) has been developed in consultation with beekeepers and governments to provide a clear framework for Australian beekeepers to engage in best-practice biosecurity - it was released in July 2016 as the first document Nationally Endorsed by Industry and it applies equally from hobbyist to commercial company.  And, like many problems across primary industry, its is often the hobby-farmers that don't quite get it right... To ensure that all WAAS members are up to speed with the requirements we will be covering the key elements over the next few issues of Smoke Signal - for the full document please click HERE or refer to the "Useful Links' section of the newsletter...

    So let's start at the beginning:

    The Principles of Good Biosecurity: The Code has been developed to incorporate fundamental biosecurity principles into the practices of all Australian beekeepers. In the context of beekeeping, “biosecurity” can be defined as “a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of pests or diseases in bees” and the principles of good beekeeping biosecurity describe the actions a beekeeper should take to minimise the impact of pests and diseases on their bees and the bees of other beekeepers. 

    Training and planningBeekeepers and their employees must be appropriately trained in disease and pest prevention, identification and control. Because our understanding of bee pests and diseases and the tools we have available to manage them are continually evolving, regular refreshing of training, even for experienced beekeepers, is important to keep knowledge up to date. Beekeepers should plan ahead – know in advance how they will respond to a disease or pest detection. All beekeepers should have a written biosecurity plan that is regularly updated as their situation changes.

    The requirements of these two sections can be easily met: throughout the year WAAS runs a program of 'Introduction to Responsible Beekeeping' workshops designed to introduce new beekeepers to the fundamentals of beekeeping including health and safety, biosecurity, hive management and much more - details of these and the continuing education workshops are included in the 'Upcoming Events' section of Smoke Signals and posted to the Events section of the website... Appropriate training just makes good sense.


             


    Next issue - Registration, Inspection, Notifiable disease
  • 03 May 2017 8:34 PM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)

    Zimbabwe’s beekeepers won’t let you go near their forest. Hundreds of their beehives are hidden within a dense patch of forest along the river in the Mpudzi Resettlement, and the beekeepers watch out for the trees just as vehemently as their bees.
     
    They need to since the country’s forests have been dwindling rapidly due to tobacco farmers cutting them down for wood to cure their crop. With this practice, the bees’ habitat is also destroyed.
     
    Now, more than 50,000 beekeepers are helping to protect the forests from overcutting in Zimbabwe, a practice that had become commonplace, not just from Tobacco farmers’ practices, but also due to frequent power outages in nearby urban and pre-urban areas.
     
                 


    Fortunately, the profitability of beekeeping is quickly outpacing other, more destructive habits of Zimbabweans, such as the destruction of woodlots for tobacco.
     
    The government is also supporting the protection of these bee habitats through a program that trains beekeepers by way of the Department of Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex). Beekeepers have a great incentive to protect the forests where hives hang from trees. They can make a fair living selling beeswax, honey, and other products. Around $60 per hive per season is not an uncommon return on their investment. Furthermore, a large portion of the country’s honey comes from bees that reside in old-growth forests.
     
    One beekeeper, Divas Matinyadze, who has 47 beehives in the Mpudzi forest, states:  “As beekeepers we jealously look after the environment because beekeeping depends on good water sources and good forage for pollen. There are lots of trees where my beehives are.”
     
    Without the beekeepers protecting the trees for the bees, a pristine habitat would continue to be destroyed at an alarming rate. Huge tracts of land were being demolished before the government of Zimbabwe intervened. At least one-fifth of the country’s 330,000 hectares (815,448 acres) of natural forest are mowed down by tobacco farmers every year, according to Zimbabwe’s Forestry Commission.
     
    Instead, the forests of Africa are making a comeback, which supports cleaner streams and less erosion.
     
    These small creatures, bees, are a microcosmic view of the macrocosmic health of our planet. A Yale report states that one of every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators, especially bees, for a successful harvest. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these little-winged workers pollinate 80 percent of our flowering crops, which constitute one-third of everything we eat. Plants depend on them for cross-pollination.
     
    With bees increasingly being threatened due to corporate agricultural practices which poison them with pesticides, habitats like old-growth forests become even more vital for their survival.
     
    This is simply a reminder that what is good for the bees is good for our ecology overall. Instead of desertification, ecological ruin, and the promotion of a cancer-crop, Zimbabwe is restoring nature’s balance by supporting the protection of bee habitats.
     
    Matinyadze says, “These trees belong to my bees.” He couldn’t be more right.


    This article (These Beekeepers Are Saving The Forest And Producing Honey At the Same Time) was originally created and published by Underground Reporter and is re-posted here with permission. 
     

  • 09 Nov 2016 7:33 AM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)

    Why do bees need water? All living creatures need water: some more, some less.


    Image courtesy of Rudy Herndon - The Times-Independent - Utah

    Aside from the normal biological processes that require water, bees need it for a number of reasons:

    1. Bee eggs ideally need 90-95% humidity in the cell to hatch. Too low or too high humidity reduces hatching success.

    2. Bee brood requires a temperature of around 35c to develop properly. To regulate the temperature, bees spread water on hive walls and place it inside cells. They fan their wings to evaporate the water, which cools the hive and also raises the humidity.

    3. Brood food is 55-80% water.

    4. Honey must be diluted to be easily consumable by bees. They add water to dilute it to 50% moisture.

    Altogether, a strong hive needs about 250 mL (about 1 cup) per day but on a hot summer day this requirement is significantly increased and a healthy hive just going about its business will need as much as a litre - that’s as much as a small dog needs.

    Much of a hive’s water needs are related to brood rearing so bees lined up around a birdbath on a hot summer day is a sign that all is well with the hive: the queen is laying and brood are being tended.

    While a major source during blooming season is nectar, which is typically 50 to 60% water, and the act of drying nectar to make honey helps with the need for humidity and evaporative cooling it is important that bees also have a reliable and safe water source, especially during the hot, dry summer months.  

    Additional water is collected by bees in the same manner that they collect nectar. Certain bees are water-collectors - they scout for it and recruit other water-collectors as needed. Instead of storing it in cells to use later as they do with nectar, some bees act as water reservoirs. These “tanker bees” accept water from foragers, swelling up as they are given more and more. Overnight, when no one is foraging, they provide the hive with their stored water so that normal activities can continue (humidity regulation, honey dilution, etc.).

    Bees locate and select water sources in four ways:

    1. by sight
    2. by perceiving the water-vapor content of the air
    3. by “smelling” substances in the water
    4. by taste - they prefer over slightly salty and aromatic water over pure, unadulterated water - which is why your neighbours swimming pool is such a popular choice.


    The number of ways to provide water to bees is limited only by our imagination. A few popular methods include:

    • Allow a leaky faucet to drip onto a board
    • Provide a water-filled bucket/bird feeder etc. with some sort of float (Styrofoam peanuts, straw, marbles etc.) to reduce drowning
    • Install a Boardman feeder filled with water instead of sugar syrup
    • Set a chicken waterer in the bee yard
    • Make a full-fledged water garden with fountains, waterfalls etc - a waterfall creates moving water that attracts bees and deters mosquitoes. A variety of aquatic plants provide ample footholds that prevent drowning

    Some ideas for consideration...

         
         

         

  • 18 Oct 2016 7:28 AM | Jackie Campbell (Administrator)

    It's that time of year again - the bees are a- buzzing, the swarms are a-swarming and people are throwing off their winter blues and flocking to Perth's vast array of beautiful open spaces, each others back yards, and generally getting out and about.  Not surprisingly when people are no longer cloistered inside they interact with the outside world and are not always delighted with the crawling critters, and flying friends that they meet there.

    Bees swarms are a relatively common occurrence in September, October and November in Perth. When bees swarm they are most unlikely to sting, so despite their appearance, people should not fear them, just treat them with respect. When a cluster of bees is seen hanging on a tree branch or similar, they are NOT thinking of setting up home there! They are in a transition waiting for the scout bees to find new accommodating. That might only take a couple of hours or at most a few days, but almost invariably they will move on, of their own accord but that doesn't always suit us humans and the cry of 'something must be done' echoes through the streets.  

    With the international focus on the plight of bees - of both the honey and native varieties - becoming common knowledge throughout our communities the expectations around the 'something that must be done' has become the 'safe collection and relocation' of the swarm or hive so it is not surprising that our swarm collectors have been receiving  significant number of requests for assistance to safely remove and relocate both swarms and natural hives from spots that people believe create a safety hazard for the bi-pedal occupants.  
     


    Some of our WAAS members hard at work recovering, removing and relocating 'problem hives'.

     

    While every bee is important - is it always possible to meet this expectation when it comes to a hive that has become established where it is not wanted - to remove the hive away from the public space and capture the Queen, her support crew of nursery bees with their precious charges, the field bees on collection duties and transfer them safely to a new home in a place where people do not consider them a hazard?

    In some cases, bees will occupy an old cupboard or box or something similar on a back verandah, in a shed, and establish themselves. There are many beekeepers who will come to remove established colonies like this and, assuming that the sections of the hive containing brood (and as a consequence, Her Majesty) can be accessed the hive can often be removed and re-established in a different location.  

    Where a hive has become established inside tree trunks, inside double-brick wall cavities or similar large and significant structures they are almost impossible to remove without destroying the tree or the wall. In these cases, the 'public safety' vs. 'hive safety' debate ensues and, where 'public safety' wins the bees, unfortunately, need to be destroyed and the hive entrances permanently closed to prevent reoccupation.  This is never a recommendation that the WAAS beekeepers or any beekeeper make lightly.

    If you become aware of a swarm or 'problem hive' the first question should always be 'Is it really a problem or am I just uncomfortable with it being where it is?  Does it really need moving or is it OK where it is for a while? - if you need to 'take action' then please contact one of our wonderful WAAS swarm collectors and they will be able to talk with you about the options... 'Something can always be done... but that 'something' might not be what you expected - so, does that 'problem hive' really need to move? .

    (Thanks to Dean Wood for his words of wisdom... Ed.)


<< First  < Prev   1   2   Next >  Last >> 
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software