Agricultural crops around the south-west will be under threat if people keep killing unwanted beehives rather than relocating them to alternative locations, a south-west beekeeper says.
The importance of bees in our environment is relatively unknown according to Tower Hill Beekeeping’s Tim Martin, who was distressed after reading about the extermination of a problem hive in Warrnambool.
“30 per cent of our food crops are pollinated by bees,” Mr Martin said.
“People think that if there is no bees then there is no honey, but that is just a scratch on the surface of what bees do for us.”
Mr Martin wants people to think before calling in pest control services to deal with bees.
“Not a lot of people will come and do what we do,” he said.
“There is a need for hives to be relocated, not having the bees killed.
“There are alternatives, bees can be shifted.
“People aren’t aware of the dependence that we have on bees.
“It’s not just fruit and vegetables but the fodder crops for grazing animals will also be affected if we lose the bees.”
Mr Martin, who has been keeping his own bee hives for three years, realised the need for a relocation service after being asked about bees while out with friends.
“My first hive came from a relocation, because people knew I was a beekeeper people started asking me to help remove them from their walls,” he said.
Tower Hill Beekeeping has now relocated a number of problem hives from a variety of locations including a cubby house, compost bins, and the walls, eaves and roof spaces of a number of houses.
“We have done 60-70 hive re-locations over the past three months,” Mr Martin said.
Mr Martin said if people saw a problem hive or swarm in their backyard they were best to leave it alone rather than take matters into their own hands.
“If you take a can of spray to a hive you will kill the bees but leave behind the comb. This will become an attractive home for the next swarm,” he said.
“People need to get on top of the problem quickly, but they can call us or another professional beekeeper to relocate the bees.
“We can’t take the bees for granted. We need to treasure each hive.”
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