This month, I joined beevangelist, Thomas Lim and his Edible Gardens colleague, Suekay, on one of their bee rescue trips. It was Thomas’ second visit to this property in Punggol, where he had previously removed a hive successfully.
On this occasion, the whole process took more than two hours, which is not uncommon, so lots of patience is required on their part. Their task is not as easy as it seems, as the bee suits, although much thinner than the conventional version, is quite warm when worn, especially for that duration. Also, angry bees will swarm around them, and they are sometimes stung in the process, like they were that day.
Thomas and Suekay had to walk away a couple of times in order to calm them down, the rationale for that is bees don’t fly too far away from their hive, and at some point, the bees will have to go back. Bees also picked up on their scents, and would leave the owners and I alone even though we were standing quite near the both of them.
Most certainly not pest control! We have a shrinking population of native bees in Singapore and we need to protect them. While they might seem scary in a big swarm, don’t let it intimidate you and your family members, because they will not sting anyone unless they feel threatened. They are important pollinators in Singapore and it breaks my heart each time I hear about pest control companies killing bees.
There is a humane, constructive, and gratifying solution to this. Get in touch with Thomas Lim from Edible Gardens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 9632 8448, he’s the beekeeper extraordinaire at edible landscaping consultancy, Edible Gardens. He is able to re-home bees to apiaries like the one I am holding below.
Unfortunately for me, termites took over my apiary, and a pest control company had to treat the wood for me (my area has historically been termite territory, Rentokil’s van is on my street very often, and I wonder why they don’t co-ordinate home visits so they can visit the whole street on the same day). As bees are very fussy when it comes to sanitation, it’s unlikely for them to move in to spaces which have been inhabited by other insects, they also stay away from chemicals.
There’s a lot to learn about bees and I hope to try some of Edible Gardens’ city honey soon. I’ve heard from the folks at Edible Gardens that the bees are not as productive as bees in colder climates because they don’t have to store food for winter. More on this topic soon!
My green-fingered peers from Edible Gardens built some of these hives rather inexpensively and are loaning one to me. There isn’t a colony living inside, so you can say it is an empty hive, but the conditions are perfect for a swarm to move right in. It has been spruced up with the scent of lemongrass and small pieces of beeswax, and also smoked to give bees the feeling of security, strangely enough they find comfort in a home that has a charred smell, I was told that this is because forest fires don’t usually happen in the same place and bees go for that.
Hopefully it will be occupied soon, at the moment it is near my mother’s rose plants, but I will shift them closer to the chicken coops in a few weeks. This is a case of trial and error, I’ve been told, so I need to be patient. Here’s a photo of handsome Ruffy posing next to the hive.