Wednesday 20 February, 2019

Ministry refutes claims regarding death of bees, blames beekeeper

The Agriculture Ministry is denying that local honey is responsible for the death of bees after a video went viral of a beekeeper who claimed a colony of bees died because of bad honey.

A statement from Inspector of Apiaries at the Ministry, Hayden Sinanan, noted that poor feeding management of beekeepers was responsible for the bees’ death and not the quality or brand of the feed.

According to Sinanan, the beekeeper’s claims in the report – which surfaced only a few days ago via a social media post – could not be validated for accuracy as it was void of relevant details such as “the extent of testing done” on the specific honey feed used and whether the feed itself, had been “mixed” or otherwise “tainted” prior to use.

“My take on the video, therefore, is strictly from a management standpoint, based on the manner in which the beekeeper described his feeding practice and his chosen mode of apparatus in the video. On that basis, I can confirm that the brand nor [the] quality of the substance fed to the bees, was not the issue since the management strategy chosen was poor and would have led to the death of the bees even if the feed was of pristine integrity.”

The inspector said it is recommended that one administers liquid feed via an entrance feeder and not in any open container with a wide surface area which can cause the bees to drown, the feed to become contaminated and sour and the robbing of the hive from a more dominant colony which can lead to fighting and result in the death of bees.

Sinanan added that while beekeepers were not encouraged to use honey to feed their bees, the idea behind using an ‘entrance feeder’ was so that the surface area would be sufficiently limited so as to prevent the bees from all diving in and drowning.

“I have told many beekeepers this and have had several discussion with them on this issue. The fact is, you do not feed bees liquid like how it was shown in the beekeeper’s video post. You feed them in a closed container with minute openings so as not to allow a widely exposed surface area. The beekeeper suffered, therefore, as a result of bad management which evidently led to the death of the bees.”

The Ministry also noted that the honey identified in the video is produced by a reputable beekeeper.


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