Pollinating insects and Honey Bees in particular are under significant environmental pressure. Honey bees are probably Britain’s most important crop pollinators. Each active hive can contain tens of thousands of bees and each bee visits thousands of plants in a day. However, a bee colony is vulnerable because it is dependent upon one queen and disease can spread quickly throughout a weakened hive.
The Bee problem
Our Pest Control Service has always done all it can to protect and preserve all bee colonies that are having an impact in homes and vulnerable establishments such as schools. Often bumble bee colonies are removed to another location.
Honey bees produce huge swarms as rival queens move on to new sites. The swarms can be huge with perhaps 10,000 bees travelling with a single purpose to find a new base.
Members of the public and organisations often report to us such swarms that can cause huge disruption and distress for those affected when they land. Until
recently the only answer was to either hope the bees move on or to employ the services of a beekeeper.
Handling bee swarms is a skilful operation, and is one that requires considerable nerve and resource. Unfortunately some individuals that are affected by a swarm will try to deal with it themselves using chemicals with disastrous effects for the bees.
However, in 2015 we began to actively pursue, capture, hive and manage bee swarms before they become a significant problem.
Our Pest Control Officers have been trained to capture the swarms and manage the hives. To minimise any costs, the equipment that is used has been sponsored by Killgerm PLC.
For the first time it is now possible for a Council to directly help people affected by bee swarms. Furthermore once the bees have been hived they are put to work. Honey that is produced will be donated to charity.
We began with four hives in 2015, the largest of which was captured from a stately hall where it was restricting the use of a children’s nursery and impacting upon their outdoor Armed Forces Weekend event.