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September 26, 2011

Beeware

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26 September 2011

In South Africa, it is bee swarming season, but please don’t kill the bees!

Swarming is when honey bee colonies reproduce. It happens when the original queen bee leaves the hive with about 60% of her workers. The swarm that remains will see a virgin queen take over. Sometimes the swarm can consist of tens of thousands of bees, and there are even small occurrences of afterswarms with their very own virgin queens, if the original colony was large enough.

If you have a swarm hiding somewhere on your property, you can have them removed by a reputable hive removal service. But please don’t hire the service if they are going to kill the bees!

I’m certain that you’ve noticed – no matter where in the world you are – that there are fewer bees buzzing around. This is because our bee colonies are suffering from something called colony collapse disorder. The cause for the disappearance of the honey bees is not yet known, and is a debatable subject.

Many say that it is perhaps the result of the increased wireless communication capabilities throughout the world, which interfere with the bees’ inherent natural communication system. There are also theories that Earth’s magnetic field is shifting and this disturbs the bees’ navigation, while some suspect a virus wipes out the colony.

Whatever the real issue, the existence of bees is of the utmost importance; agricultural crops are dependent on being pollinated by the colonies, so if our bees disappear, we’ll have a serious food shortage problem.

Thus it is important that you don’t kill the bee swarm on your property. Remember also that if a bee removal company says they’ll remove the bees at night, they will kill the bees to remove them. An operation to remove a bee swarm will take only a few hours during the day, as it involves catching the queen and moving her. It is a very simple operation, and keeping the bees alive is well worth the small amount of time it will take to remove the swarm!


{Image by Mark Osgatharp, Wikimedia Commons}

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