Pests news from BPCA

22 August 2019

Proactive bee management experiments

Your association | PPC96 August 2019

It can’t be said enough - we love bees. Nobody would choose to treat bees and so as pest management professionals we should all be looking at ways to minimise the public health risks of bee infestations.

Jonathan Walker, Business Manager from member company Eradipest has been experimenting with proactive bee management.

Honey I'm home Proactive bee management experiments

Historically, we’ve had recurring problems with honey bees getting into the buildings at a client’s site.

In most cases, they would get under the eaves and into the wall cavity of the buildings.

As with any bee control, it’s always advisable to leave them well alone or, if possible, proof a property to stop the issue escalating.

The site has been converted from stables to domestic homes and, with the rustic nature of the buildings, it would be very difficult to proof against the bees.

Unfortunately we’ve had to treat some of the bees in the past as they were getting into the properties or very close to residents’ doors, which could be a public health risk, especially with some of the residents being elderly.

However, in 2017 we carried out a few experiments to see if anything would work to deter and move the bees away from the site.

At one point, we got so creative we even tried spraying the problem areas with a concoction of mint, cinnamon and washing-up liquid, in the hope it would deter them. All this did was give them a scented shower!

Then we heard that one of the residents, Jo, would be doing a beekeeping course and we entertained the idea of introducing hives.

At the start of 2018, Jo completed the beekeeping training and, in turn, went to great efforts to introduced hives to the site.

This gave us promising results, as Eradipest didn’t carry out a single treatment on bees for the whole of 2018.

Ultimately since we’ve not had to use insecticide, the bees survive and they can help with all the farmer’s organic crops in the surrounding fields.

We are not sure why this has worked, but we imagine that by giving the bees a better place to settle, the attractiveness of the properties has reduced.

Ultimately since we’ve not had to use insecticide, the bees survive and they can help with all the farmer’s organic crops in the surrounding fields.

Jo has been in touch to offer her comments on the importance of beekeeping and why insecticides should always be a last resort:

“A few years ago we had a swarm in our garden and I had the privilege of assisting the beekeeper in removing it. From then on I was hooked and so I qualified as a beekeeper. I remember collecting my first swarm, along with my lovely mentor Harry, from a tree outside Marks & Spencer.

“I have an apiary at two sites within the Chichester area, with a total of eight hives. This summer I’ve been called out to various swarms in the area, and rehoused bees who would have set up home in the most awkward places and, more often than not, would have had to be eradicated.

“It is said that every third mouthful of food we eat is available because of honey bees, but as much as humans needs honey bees, honey bees need humans.

“Since the arrival of the varroa destructor mite, if left untreated an infected colony will die and this has led to the demise of virtually all feral honey bee colonies in the UK. I encourage anyone to take up the challenge of this beautiful hobby!”

As you can see, Jo deserves all the credit as these results could not have been achieved without her. It sounds like a full-time job looking after several hives in and around the Chichester area.

Some are close to our other contract sites, which is very useful for us to know, in case we are treating for wasps in the area.

About Eradipest

Eradipest carries out environmentally friendly pest control, pest management and pest prevention for domestic and commercial properties across West Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey.

Got an idea worth sharing?

If you’ve been investigating non-traditional methods of control or have something to share with our readers, get in touch!

Source: PPC96

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