Over the years we have accumulated some interesting pictures of the cape honeybee and beekeepers in action.
Below is a picture of a large brood comb taken from a wild swarm in the wall of a house in Grahamstown. The season was early spring, as is evidenced by the powerful laying pattern of the queen, which shows up as large orange bands of capped brood. The swarm removed from this wall weighed in at just over 9kg and filled one brood box completely before frames were put into it. Two years later this is still one of our better hives, with a crop so far this year of 85kg.
As beekeepers we are often called to take bees from strange places. The cape honeybee prefers sites high above the ground. The next sequence of photographs shows Garth removing bees from the roof of a three story building. The cape honeybee, if worked correctly is a quiet little bee and no protective gear is required on a good day.
The climate in our region of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa is mild with occasional cold fronts. Winters can be chilly, but are never outright cold, with one or two frosts a year. As such, bees can survive as outdoor colonies. The following series, by Dr Jim Cambray, shows the removal of an outdoor colony in the middle of winter. The bees were foraging on Eucalyptus maculata which flowered nearby.
Copyright Grahamstown Brewery, 2001