Residents have been urged to be on the lookout for fake bee removers as the Western Cape is in its prime breeding ground for honeybees season.
According to GroundUp, bee scammers are looking to make quick money, while illegitimate bee removers are also thriving with the newfound demand, undercutting prices by killing colonies rather than removing them.
Legitimate bee removers in the province have a temporary apiary where they will take the bees, care for them until they’re laying brood again, however, fraudulent bee removal service providers don’t have these apiary sites.
Lohan Geel, owner of Beelicious Honey bee removal services said the demand for bee removal services skyrocketed and scammers have stepped in reducing charge fees and then arrive with a can of poison to kill the bees inside the hive.
“I can do two to three removals a day, maximum, whereas a guy with a can of Doom can do one every half an hour,” Geel was quoted as saying.
He further mentioned that proper removal is not just removing the bees and sticking them in a box somewhere but you have to feed those bees because you’re taking them out of their natural environment,News24 reports.
Meanwhile, the Western Cape Bee Industry Association (WCBA) recently indicated that its main focus is on the long-term survival and sustainability of the unique honeybee subspecies, the Cape honeybee.
The WCBA’s plan comes after the province’s Department of Agriculture strategy indicated in 2018 that the sustainability of the bee population is not reaching the objective.
According to Chris Nicklin, WCBA spokesperson, the bees play a crucial role in the Western Cape’s ecology by ensuring biodiversity through their activities and performing up to 90% of all pollination of food crops, IOL reports.
Nicklin said the COVID-19 pandemic slowed their progress tremendously, however, the objective of the 2018 plan remains the same.
“If we’re unable to stem this problem, bee-keeping will become non-viable in the Western Cape, placing the pollination of our food crops in great jeopardy,” Nicklin was quoted as saying.
How to identify a legitimate bee remover
- Look for a provider who is listed specifically and solely as a humane bee removal service;
- A legitimate bee removal service provider will be registered as a beekeeper with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and have proof of registration;
- Ask them how long the removal will take. If the removal will take less than an hour, it is likely this is an illegitimate service provider who intends to kill the bees and leave the hive intact;
- A legitimate bee removal provider will charge a “call-out” fee of about R300 to visit your property and assess the hive; A legitimate quote will be based on a time estimate, and most qualified providers will charge between R300 and R500 per hour;
- Ask for references, and be sure to follow them up. All legitimate service providers will be able to provide several references;
- Ask their plans for the bees after the removal process is done. You can ask for photo evidence of their apiaries;
- Ask them about their safety measures and ask to see their safety clothing.