Anger at bee killings

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By LISA THOMAS

A SWANBOURNE resident has lashed out at the Town of Clare­mont’s bee pol­icy af­ter the coun­cil tendered a pest con­trol com­pany to kill a swarm of bees at the front of her prop­erty.

Sarah Cam­mack said she called the Town last week and asked that the bees be moved with­out be­ing harmed and was as­sured by staff they would not be killed.

She said that the fol­low­ing morn­ing a pest con­trol com­pany turned up at her house and poi­soned the hive, killing the bees and two geckos near the tree.

“I’m so upset they were killed. If I had known they weren’t go­ing to move them, I would have paid for them to be moved,” she said.

“I find it ridicu­lous when we are con­stantly told to plant na­tive trees to en­cour­age na­tive birds and bees, and then they spray poi­son and kill them.”

How­ever, Clare­mont chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephen Goode said the Town had a duty of care to en­sure the safety of the com­mu­nity and in some in­stances bees were a hazard.

“When bee hives and swarms are lo­cated on pub­lic prop­erty and deemed a pub­lic dan­ger, the Town will en­gage an api­arist to re­lo­cate bees to a more sus­tain­able lo­ca­tion. Bee clus­ters are re­moved only if they im­pact the com­mu­nity or na­tive fauna,” he said.

“Re­lo­cat­ing bees is not al­ways pos­si­ble. When bee hives are lo­cated in tree hol­lows, the queen bee sits deep in­side the tree cav­ity. Once es­tab­lished, the queen never leaves the hive and there­fore it is im­pos­si­ble to find and re­lo­cate her and the en­tire hive.

“We re­gret that bee con­trol is the only op­tion in this sit­u­a­tion.”

Ms Cam­mack said she un­der­stood bees could cre­ate a pub­lic safety is­sue, but the Town did not even send an api­arist to as­sess the sit­u­a­tion and in­stead de­cided to send pest con­trol.

“Yes it’s a pub­lic health is­sue, but the pest con­trol man came the next day and an api­arist could have also done that,” she said.

“I was also told by the pest man that the poi­son will hang around for two days. Who knows what else it will kill and the dam­age the poi­son is do­ing to the en­vi­ron­ment?

“I am dis­put­ing the way this was han­dled. I have a friend who is try­ing to get bees on her prop­erty and she is on a wait­ing list to get some, and here they are killing them.”

Api­arist and Honey I’m Home Pro­duce owner Tristan Camp­bell said there were al­ways op­tions in mov­ing bees.

“The first point of call shouldn’t be to kill the bees. There are al­ways op­tions,” he said.

“One of the main con­cerns with poi­son­ing a hive is that some will die, but oth­ers will travel to other hives and dam­age a se­condary hive.

“There is no need for a blan­ket pol­icy to kill them and an api­arist should be called to see what can be done be­fore they are killed.”

Swanbourne resident Sarah Cam­mack is upset over bees killed on the verge of her prop­erty.


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