Keeping Bees in Singapore

By John Smith, Australia
In Reference to: Ruth's Thoughts on Keeping Bees in Singapore

Hi Ruth,

Obviously Singapore's ban on beekeeping isn't working, otherwise there wouldn't be a need for those exterminations. As seen from a distance, it would seem obvious that it might as well be dispensed with.

Many places rely on volunteers from the hobbyist beekeepers to service the nuisance calls. It is no secret that most people are terrified of bees and rightly so, as they do sting! Most beekeepers, however, are responsible when it comes to placing hives in potentially sensitive locations.

It just might help turn your city fathers' minds in favour of the bees, if you invite them to join you for a trip to Malaysia to visit a few beekeepers there. There is magic in being there when a beehive is opened, and yet most people have never had the experience. When the eyes are big with excitement (and adrenalin) a taste of honey straight from the comb can make a huge impact. Trust me, I did this only yesterday to a visitor from Cambodia.

Also, with a few newspaper write ups about that visit, it would soon follow that your tourist operators could run regular excursions there…………… now if the locals start buying up honey big time while they are there, REAL honey, honey with flavour, colour, medicinal value and a bee keeping experience to go with it, WOW! When the word gets around, the supermarkets may well put their pressure on the city fathers to keep that trade inside Singapore! Certainly bees and honey are very topical worldwide right now. Well, as you know, you helped make that happen, did you not?

I can well imagine a city park or part thereof being set apart as a bee sanctuary. Surprisingly, it requires only a hundred meters or so of space around it to all but guarantee the absolute minimum of stings to innocent bystanders and neighbouring populations. If a beekeeper's club were to be put in charge of the operations at that park, it would of itself commence to become a tourist attraction. It may well be that at a University, there is already a beehive being used for scientific experimentation. This could be expanded on.

Bees do not require prime real estate either. A lowland, a hillside, a rocky outcrop or a sandy ridge, there are usually heaps of such remnant spaces, even in the busiest of cities. Water catchment areas that are protected from industrial and residential use are ideal, as the bees have an extremely light footprint. They regularly fly 2, three and more kilometres to access flowers, so waterways, rail lines and fences are not a bother to them.

The managed beehive can easily be put on a truck and transferred to yet another site too. There is no need to assume that the first site chosen will be obligated to accommodate the bee park forever. As long as it was not illegal to have the hives, the processing of all other features, like the honey, the woodwork, the library and meeting rooms, the store and parking lots etc., would be little different to any other facility.

Bees enjoy elevation. It is their first choice of home, to be high off the ground. Any hive whose flyway is above human head height is less likely to become a nuisance. One beekeeper I worked for had a small nucleus hive mounted on a post above his mailbox. This was right amongst the town's residential area. I heard no reports of it ever being declared a nuisance. So bees on balconies, roof tops, and near cliff faces can be quite oblivious to humans and vice versa.

If all else fails, maybe you can invite America's First Lady to visit Singapore. She has the happy knack of getting bees in where they have never been before! Just being in communication with her on the matter could give your arguments more appeal.

So just be patient but persistent. Don't let three negative answers prevent you from applying a fourth time! Work around the perimeters of the problem at the same time as your confront it head on. Be happy to make small gains with each endeavour. To force an answer usually invites a negative one.

Hey! The Queen Bee is one your side!

Cheers,

John Smith
1 Mar 2012




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