Beekeeping

Interested in joining Johannesburg’s beekeeping community?

There are hobbyist beekeepers throughout Northcliff and the rest of the town who help keep our critical bee populations healthy with well-managed swarms to help prevent declining numbers.

The Northcliff Melville Times met a few people who shared the importance of feeding bees responsibly.

Len Boucher, president of the Southerns Beekeeping Association with one of his hives. Photo: provided.

The author, Dr Fiona Mumoki from the University of Pretoria, spoke about bee populations in general: “Current species extinction rates are 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal due to human impacts .”

Honey is harvested twice a season and given away to friends and family, making swarm keeping a hobby that requires only a small investment of time and money, but is obviously enjoyable. The wax is used to make furniture polish, skin balms and honey is a wonderful ingredient with many uses besides being eaten.

Len Boucher removes a swarm from a road sign in Benoni. Photo: provided.

They have 17 swarms in and around the city that they oversee explaining the process of managing swarms effectively. Some swarms survive for years with complex processes followed by the bees to “remake” the gift after the death of the queen bee, which can live for years.

A beekeeper, who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals if neighbors discovered he had beehives on his property, despite them being extremely safe and well managed, said: “Honey bees are not at risk because they have a value of honey and wax. they produce. They also play a vital role in pollinating vital plants needed for a healthy ecosystem.

A beehive at Northcliff is managed by amateur beekeepers. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

Len Boucher, president of the Southerns Beekeeping Association, has turned his passion for bees into a business that saves swarms that need to be ethically and safely removed from homes or areas where they pose a potential danger to those around them.

He encouraged people to consider having a beehive as a hobby if kept safely and in accordance with statutes and regulations. He explained that for the safety of people around a hive and for the bees themselves, “keeping bees in densely populated areas such as apartment buildings is not permitted as bees may seek resources up to 6 km from the hive”.

This Northcliff hive is managed by amateur beekeepers. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

They must be kept near water but are not permitted to be located within 50m of a school, church or other places where large numbers of people congregate, and a permit is required. required by the city.

If you want to learn more about keeping bees or need a swarm safely removed for relocation, visit Boucher’s website www.beekeepers.co.za or email [email protected]