The Rep

Spring abuzz with record bee activity


Honey bees have been around for a very long time – fossil evidence indicates their presence before the continents split apart.

So when people speak of threats to the continued existence of our major pollinatin­g agents – the honey bee – we should take serious note.

These threats are from the widespread use of both herbicides and insecticid­es.

However, here in Southern Africa, you would not think these bees are in danger of dying out.

This spring has seen swarm activity at an all-time high.

There are reports of a record number of swarms moving and being caught all over the country.

The honey flow has also enabled many beekeepers to begin harvesting honey much earlier than normal.

In the Chris Hani district, people have reported swarms hanging in trees and there have been numerous calls to remove bees from various places.

A few helpful things to be aware of:

First, a swarm on the move and resting on a tree branch or in a bush will not normally cause anyone any problem.

This is the result of the home hive filling up with bees and honey. The main force of bees leave the home hive with the old queen to find a new home.

Often they will congregate and hang in a tree or bush.

Do not disturb them. They will usually move on to the new home.

Second, if you have bees on your property and need them removed, there are several bee removal experts around.

However, as with any profession­al or expert call-out, there is a cost, going up to about R1,000.

Travel costs have climbed steeply, so be prepared to pay for this service.

Electricia­ns and plumbers charge for any call-out, and so do bee removal people.

Third, bees can become a

danger and when they go on the offensive, it is best to stay clear and get inside a house, with the doors and windows shut.

Finally, bee stings can cause alarming swelling, especially around the face.

This is the normal reaction to bee venom which comes with a sting.

To remove the sting, use the back of a knife and scrape the sting off. Try not to rub it off or squeeze it as this just adds venom to the sting.

If you have any difficulty in breathing, feel ill or develop a fever or swelling away from the site of the sting, get immediate medical assistance.

Hospital casualty and general practition­ers have the necessary treatment available.

 ?? Picture: LEN’S NEWS ?? LARGE SWARMS: There are reports of swarms of bees in the region, with numerous calls made to have them removed.
Picture: LEN’S NEWS LARGE SWARMS: There are reports of swarms of bees in the region, with numerous calls made to have them removed.

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