It was Winnie the Pooh who declared: A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.
We all know how important bees are in the process of pollination. Last year the problem of foulbrood disease was highlighted in the media. The devastating effect this has had on the population of bees in South Africa is a threat to the agricultural industry as a whole, for bees are estimated to contribute to 95% of crops requiring pollination. Most of us enjoy their honey too. Certainly a garden that is visited by bees is blessed.
The problem for us is that some members of our family are highly allergic to bees. We used to have bees living inside our roof, but have had to get them moved several times over the years by a local apiarist who carefully smoked them out, placed them in a box and took them away to continue their productive lives elsewhere. This is because the bees can become aggressive at times: I have often been attacked whilst mowing the lawn!
While we always welcome foraging bees, our house has been blissfully ‘bee-free’ for some years. To my horror they have returned. The other day the garden was alive with a thick, dark swarm of bees that seemed to disappear after a few minutes. Then we noticed the odd bee buzzing around indoors during the day – lost? Last week we were disturbed by bees flying around the lights at night – why?
Looking up at the corner of our house, I realise that another swarm has moved in. Sadly, we cannot allow them to settle in and make themselves comfortable – our family is too precious for that.