Family want to be bee-free

Shanaaz Ackerman, 43, stands near the space in her wall where she suspects bees have made a hive.

Honey may be sweet, but the busy bees which make it – and the cost to have them removed – have left a sour taste in the mouth of Rocklands resident Shanaaz Ackerman.

It was in March 2010 that Ms Ackerman first noticed the bees hovering around her front door, with the number steadily increasing, and bees regularly making their way into the house.

Then her epileptic son, 14, was stung on his ear and had to be rushed to hospital.

Desperate to be free of the buzzing problem, she enlisted the help of two neighbours who, she says, carried away “three to four bags of honey”.

“But after they had done this, the bees reappeared again,” she said.

“It would cost me R700 to have the bees taken out of our wall. We do not have that kind of money.”

As the hive is on private property, the City of Cape Town is not able to assist the family with the removal thereof.

Bee researcher Mike Allsop said if the house is privately owned, and the bee colony is on the property, the removal is the owners’ responsibility.

“They need to get a bee keeper to come and remove the colony. The bee keepers will charge for this service. If the house is rented, it is the responsibility of the owner,” he said.

Riaan Burger, a bee keeper from Somerset West, said the family had two options: pay a bee keeper to remove the colony, or have the bees killed.

“They need to seal the colony where they are situated. If the bees have been there for a long time, it needs to be removed, as they are bound to come back. The wall where the colony is situated needs to be removed in order to get to the bees.”

Bee keepers use a method referred to as “trapping out” to force bees out of their colony and stop them from swarming back.

Once the queen is out, the swarm of bees will follow her, said Mr Burger.

But for now it seems Ms Ackerman is stuck with the problem as she is unable to afford the cost of having the bees removed.