Back in March 2021, Mrs Tan approached Nutrinest with her Bee “problem”. I get her to send me some photos and videos of her bee “problem” for me to understand the situation.
She asked:” Hi I just discovered this mass here on this tree and I thought it is a beehive. I got your number online and wondering if you could advise me what to do with it. I do not want to harm the bees.”
I told her that these are dwarf bees and they are docile. Looking at the beehive location it might be ok to leave them alone and share some space in her garden with the bees.
She Replied:” Thank you Xavier for your quick response. It is not in the way and I do not mind giving them the space for a while, if they don't grow too big. I had once previously and a pest control came and exterminated it, which made me feel very sad. I didn't want to do that again. I will let it stay if it is docile. However may call for your service if it grows too big. Thank you very much for your advice.”
To be sure, I requested her to send me a video of the surrounding area that is near to the beehive to ensure it is ok for people living close by. After reviewing her videos we both think that it is ok to keep the bee as it is. The only precaution is to only water the plant at the base without splashing. She was happy after keeping the bees for a few days and gave me a 5 stars review!
In September, Mrs Tan came back to me to let me know that the bees had decided to move on to their next destination.
Based on the empty comb we can observe that the colony had already gone through a full cycle. There are empty drone chamber and a few queen chambers. There was a slight wax moth infestation (one of the reason why the colony decided to move to a new place). It was natural shift as all honey was removed, chambers are all empty. The colony had produce about 12 new queens!
Then I requested her to help do a write up about her experience to share with everyone. Hoping that will encourage more people to coexist and share some space with the bees! She agreed and below is her sharing:
The first time I saw a beehive in my garden was many years ago. I panicked and called for a pest control company promptly. It came and exterminated it swiftly. It was a regrettable experience for me seeing the dead bees on the floor. I didn't feel right.
When I encountered a hive again in March this year,
I decided to go online to look for a better solution. I was lucky to find Xavier who is experienced and knowledgeable in bees. From the pictures I sent, he was able to advise me the kind of bees I had in the garden and their living habits. Assessing that the beehive location was not in anybody way, he asked if I could give it space as the bees are nomadic and they would probably move on subsequently. I decided we could give it a chance and learn to live with it for a while. I also learned that the bees are having trouble surviving in the modern world.
It soon became our 'house pets' of kind, and we checked on it every now and then.
We noticed that there was a tree chameleon (actually it is garden lizard) which was always looking at the hive. The bees would flutter whenever it got too near to them.
Over times we observed that the colony expanded, than decreased and then expanded one more time. Unfortunately, my new neighbour spotted it one day and we thought it was time we get Xavier to come and remove it safely. Then out of a sudden, we found the hive empty one rainy day in August. Our little friends had also decided to bid goodbye. We were relieved but kind of missing them at the same time. We cut off the branch and removed the hive.
The bees were with us for about half a year. It was a good experience for us to get so near to nature and observe them first hand. I am glad that I didn't kill them and they moved on to a greener pasture in due time.
I saw a tiny bee in my dinning room the other night, I hope it is not looking for its hive.
There are bees everywhere, with a beehive near us or not the risk of getting stung by a bee is equally low. in fact if we know the location and try to make some adjustment on how we use the place. the risk is lesser than when we don't even know where the beehive is.
Next time when you encounter a beehive just leave them alone. if you are not sure, please WhatsApp to Xavier at 91474065 with a video showing the beehive and the surrounding area. We are happy to provide free advice on how we can manage the wild bees. Please do not engaging a pest control or try to handle the bees yourself, if you do not know how. Bees are very important to our eco-system and they are not dangerous. please help to conserve the bees.
Why relocate bees or beehives when you can share space with the bees? Every case is unique. In general, it is better to leave the bees alone because the bee colony will redeploy themselves naturally results in a balanced ecosystem. However, sometime the beehive location build by the bees may cause discomfort to people or created safety issue due to higher risk of provoking the bees. In such case, the best option is to relocate the beehive to a more suitable place so that everyone can live in harmony.
Exterminating the bees was the method used by many people in the past and people are changing this approach. People are more aware on the important of conserving our eco system via sustainable practices.
I used to rate the removal at similar to pest control price and encouraging people to try sharing space with their bees. More people are making humane beehive removal as their preferred option. However, the new beekeepers wanted to build their bee garden and offer free service so that they can get their garden with bees. Pest control also started to do the beehive removal but with a competitive rate as they need practices. The whole scenario has changed. The new beekeepers are encouraging people to remove beehive with lower rate or free service. No one will be willing to try to coexist with bees and I am so worry with such trend the bees will be overly populated in a particular location and causing an imbalance in the local ecosystem.
When a location is overly crowded with a single type of pollinator, it will affect the survival of other pollinator in some way. The ecosystem needs to find ways to balance it again.
I am in dilemma, should I change my current approach to better mitigate the impact of such shifting of wild bee handling method and continue to educate people about the importance in conserving our local bees by sharing space with them instead of removing the beehive because the fee is low!
This year the participants not only get to learn about the types of local honey, they also got the chance to make their own lip balm using the 100% Beeswax extract from the unwanted comb that I have. One of the invited guest also share about their experience in co-existing with their bees. Many had decorated their adopted beehive and my task is to fill up all these beehives with colonies of bees.
One of the last year adopted beehive was housing a colony of Trigona that was rehomed from Mandai Zoo area. This colony is now residence at the rooftop of Temasek Shophouse. Nutrinest is collaborating with Temasek Trust in experimenting urban rooftop beekeeping in urban environment, such as Orchard, a very dense environment.
Currently Nutrinest is managing 3 bee gardens within Singapore, in the north, center and west part of Singapore. I hope I will be able to save as many bees from the current pest control exterminating method. I hope more and more people will support my bee conservation work and make Singapore, a city in the garden that is also truely bee friendly.
We have just held our first Bee gardens Workshop event at Temasek Shophouse. The very first Bee gardens developed at the heart of Singapore, Orchard Road.
It is an experimental collaboration for Nutrinest with Temasek Trust. It is also our third Bee garden in Singapore. The objective of this garden is to share the important of our local honeybee and the possibility to have urban beekeeping for conservation.
More than one hundred participants had participated on that day. Many participants tried some honey produced by our local honeybees, make their own Honey Ice Cream and lip Balm using the 100% Beeswax that we extracted from our unwanted honeycomb. Some participant also got to experience honey extraction from the beehive make by the bees in the gardens and tasted them. Many kids also enjoyed feeding some honey to the bees in the garden with their bare hands!
I can see a huge possibility to cohabit and share our space with the local honeybees. It is not necessary to exterminate any beehive found in your area as we can always humanely manage the wild bees by rehome them to a suitable location.
I hope with more of such event will change people's mindset about bees and welcome the idea of sharing space with them. We need our local honeybees to help us in keeping our ecosystem healthy as all living things benefit from what the bees have been contributing to all.
Above is the shot video clip of the event on that day. Hope you will enjoy it!
Tiana is a 10 year old girl that I met in Bollywood Veggie during my regular roadshow to promote local honey bees conservation. She was so interested in finding out how I am able to humanely removing a wild beehive. She asked if she can get involve in one of my removal. After getting approval from her parents and understanding the risk involved. we were at the site for a beehive removal. It is the first time that I have such a young assistance to help me with a beehive removal. I let her tried to touch the bees and leading some of the bees into the temporary container where the queen bee was allocated and transferred by me in advance. Everything goes so well and I have her shared her experience at the end of the removal. It is really fun to share with the young adult so that they can appreciate and understand the importance in conserving what we have on earth!
There are many people approached me to learn about urban beekeeping. Most of them wanted to keep stingless bees. Even some government agency such as NPark and Schools requested to collaborate with Nutrinest in keeping stingless bees. I have rejected all of them and here is the reasons.
The objective for urban beekeeping is to provide education opportunities for the public to understand about our local bees and how we can better interact with them instead of exterminate any if found! For this to be effective, keeping different types of honeybees is the key to achieve the goal. Public will get to learn and differentiate the different types of bees. the Ability to identify which type of bee will sting and which will not.