Beekeeping in Singapore is possible as long as you know how to keep the bees to remain low profile and not cause problem to your neighbour.
Is it safe to do Urban Beekeeping? Many people always asking the question, if it is safe to have urban beekeeping? My answer to that is yes, it is safer to have proper urban beekeeping then letting the bee to build their hive anywhere they want. The reason is very clear, when people understand more about bee and learn to live in the environment with bees around, the chance of getting stung by a bee is lesser, and the chance to get yourself killed by bee sting will be greatly reduced. This is because when everyone is familiar with the procedure when get stung by a bee, the chances of getting a serious bee sting reaction will be greatly prevented.
What happens if you get stung by bees? For example, when a beehive is found, especially those exposed hive, it is important not to get too close and disturb the bees. If unfortunately get stung by a bee, you should never try to pluck out the stinger with your finger. This will make the venom to introduce to your body event faster! Instead, the best way is to break away the link between the venom sac that attached to the stinger and your body. Simply scrapped off the stinger with your fingernail or an edge of a plastic card. Timing is important, you have to scrape off the stinger as soon as the bee left the stinger on your body. After the stinger has been scrapped off, put some ice to pressed on the area to reduce discomfort. Soon, everything will goes back to normal.
What if someone is allergic to bee venom? This can be very serious. When someone got stung by a bee and start to have reaction such as rash, short of breath, feel like throwing up or swollen. Any sign of allergy, it is important to quickly register a shot of Api-pen to reduce reaction then send the person to emergency hospital. Everyone should learn some of the basic first aids including how to use an Api-pen.
WHY Do Urban Beekeeping? The main reason of urban beekeeping is to help to conserve the local honey bees. As the bee situation around the world is not good. Many countries is experience CCD (Colonies Collapse Disorder) and the reduction rate of bee population is in the alarming situation. Hence it is important to keep the bees alive. Honey comes second.
Ruth, the owner of Benefit of Honey website, recently interviewed me for some question that most people wanted to ask about urban beekeeping so I share with I have have experience in my 6 years of beekeeping in Singapore. If you have anymore questions that need help I will be more than happy to help and share my thought. Below are the question that were exchanged.:
Q1 .I called NParks to remove a honey bee hive in my house, but to my surprise, they killed all the bees and destroyed the hive. I never intended this to happen and I expected NParks to be interested to save these creatures. Next time, which organisations (besides Nutrinest) can I contact to remove and relocate bee hives safely without destroying them? Ans: This is a touchy problem for Npark. They know that Bees are important to mankind and the environment but at the same time there are many people have concern with colonies of bees staying near them. NPark has to make a judgment over public safety and conservation of nature. It is too bad that killing the bees is usually the option. I heard there are other people also help to remove bees but I am not sure if they are doing it humanely. To make sure people are removing bees without killing, one should ask if the person will be using any fire, smoke or chemical. If they do then it is not humanely removing the bees. If they don't use fire, smoke not chemical then how they remove the bee? What would the person do to the bees and all the baby bees inside the comb, after removing the bees? If they are keeping the bees where do this person keep them and can go and visit? Some people think that to smoke away the bees are humane removing. Personally, I think it is no good. If the colony already building comb and queen bee already laying eggs, if the colony decided to leave their hive due to smoke, all the babies bees will be left alone to die. This will cause disruption to the normal life cycle of that colony. In order for the bees to leave their beehive, a huge amount of smoke will need to expose to the colony of the bees for a long period of time, many bees will die of suffocation without oxygen.
Q2.I would like to visit some bee hives in Singapore/ I would like to get in touch with a few beekeepers to know more about beekeeping in Singapore. Who can I approach? Ans: There are bees around Singapore like in Botanic Garden. I know in Sembawang and Kranji there are some people exhibit some beehives beside my 3 Bee gardens which located in Durban Road, Orchard Road, and Jurong. The bees in Sembawang is managing by a former school vice-principal Mr Chong. Kranji is by Mr wong a former ST manager but they only keep stingless bees. I do organize a Bee garden event when I have the time. The objective of my event is to provide an opportunity for interested people to get close to our local bees. If people would like to join in, he or she will have to like and follow my Facebook page as "Nutrinest", when I post the event on Facebook those who follow will get a notification with a link for registration. As in each of these bee garden have thousands to a few hundred thousands of bee, the garden does not open for walk-in. Before the actual guided tour of the bee garden, I will conduct a briefing and sharing session about our local bees. The visitor will learn how they should behave when visiting the garden with the bees, what should they do if in case they get stung accidentally. There are more than 5 thousand visitors and so far no one ever gets stung by a bee. This is a very important point to prove that it is possible to cohabit with our local honey bee as long as we know how their habit. The garden that I am managing had been visited by many people such as our current President Mdm Halimah Yacob, Ms Ho Ching ( Wife of Singapore's current Prime Minister Lee), many members of the parliament such as Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Mr Kwah Boon Wan, and Ms Indranee Thurai Rajah. Students from nursery all the way to university researchers. If anyone is interested to organize group visiting to the bee garden, you can also can my mobile at 91474065 or send me an email at email@example.com for inquiry.
Q3. I would like to start a program in my school to educate the children about bees and beekeeping. Are there organisations which I can approach for such programmes? Ans: To promote local bee conservation, I do provide Excursion and incursion to school, companies, church, temple or any organization that are interested in our local honey bees.
Q4.I would like to get one of those beehives with a honey tap from honeyflow.com. Do you think it would work in my garden? Ans: This has been a common question I get too. The flow hive is designed for Apis Mellifera AKA European bees. it is not suitable for our local honey bees. I do conduct a workshop to share in greater detail on why through discussion on the flow hive design, how it function. People who join the workshop will get to understand why it is not suitable.
Q5. I would like to buy some bees to do bee venom therapy, who can I contact? Ans: Bee Venom therapy is also known as Apitherapy, it is not legalized to offer such treatment in Singapore. People can still do this at their own risk. I did help people who are in need of such help but it is personal support and not for profit.
Q6.I am looking for suppliers of locally sourced honey and beeswax. Are there any shops or beekeepers whom I can contact for these products? Ans: I do have some honey and beeswax if interested can contact me. Often you will have to do a preorder as locally sourced honey and beeswax are very limited. You will also expect to pay for a premium.
Q7. Is beekeeping in my own garden/back yard allowed? Ans: I am sure may interested people have asked this question before and most likely had approached NEA, AVA, Npark to try to get an answer. I am sure the answer is not certain as this is one of those questions that falls in grey. I am not in the position to answer this for the authority. This would be a case to case decision made by the authority. For my case, I do have a official approval to keep bees in the gardens that I am managing. I am working hard to exhibit to the public that it is possible to cohabit with bees, the bees are important to our environment and we should conserve the bees.