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» StrataBlog» On Strata Corporations and Honey Bees
July 17, 2015

On Strata Corporations and Honey Bees

On Strata Corporations and Honey Bees

‘The Trouble with Honey Bees’ – This is how the conversation began during one of our strata council meetings.

An owner reported wasps being present in an area of the building that was over two stories off the ground. Upon review by a pest company, it was determined the insects were not wasps but were in fact honey bees. The company would not remove them because they are a protected species. In fact, they will not even remove bee hives if they were abandoned!

A friend of one of the strata council members had a friend who specialized in honey bees and recommended the strata council contact one of the local bee keeping associations for help. Our strata manager attempted to locate a beekeeper to attend by reaching out to the BC Honey Producers Association, www.beekeepers.com, Honey Bee Zen, www.honeybeezen.com, a local blog containing information on scientific beekeeping, breeding, raising and caring of bees and the Honeybee Centre, www.honeybeecentre.com, a commercial honey farm. The search did not locate a beekeeper.

Because honey bees are protected, a pest control company is not permitted to kill them. The other problem is that beekeepers, as a general rule, are hobbyists and can’t handle hives over a certain size or that are located more than ten feet off the ground. Arrangements for removal of hives they can handle, is often done without charge and through word of mouth in that hobbyists are looking to add to their collection. Because there is no formal service, and there is no fee, a strata corporation can have difficulty locating someone to remove the bees in a timely way. it is difficult to demand service that is free. One also has to wonder how safe handling of the insects is monitored and achieved (Worksafe BC issues) and what the liability of the contractor would be, perhaps if he/she caused a swarm which injured someone.

The particular hive in question was removed in the end by two beekeepers who were referred to the strata council by a contractor who had recently finished doing some work in the building. The process took about four hours and involved moving the bees into transfer hives. Isolating the Queen was key to ensuring the best chance that the bees do not come back, although there is no guarantee of this. Our strata manager tried to locate a pest company to spray the empty hive, with the idea that doing so would discourage return of the bees, but was told they could not do so and further was advised there was no preventative spray.

The strata council opted to proceed with the permanent sealing and repair of the affected area in an effort to deter the bees from returning. This problem stretched for nearly a month.

‘I know more about honey bees than I ever thought I would need to’ is the comment made by our strata manager.

Anyone dealing with honeybees can expect to wait. Patience, patience and more patience.

The strata council member who supervised removal of the bees said it was a fascinating thing to watch: two men in protective bee suits in very hot weather, pulling honey combs out, with honey dripping all over them, very high off the ground.

C & C Property Group Ltd. is a strata property management companies with clients in the metro Vancouver area

 

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