Thursday, April 14, 2016

“Bee squad” relocates honey bee colonies from IRRI research facility to safer place

New home for some busy honey bees.

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—Bees are highly beneficial insects and are normally harmless. However, bee colonies located in areas where people live, work, or play may pose a potential danger.

Such was the case recently at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Two nests of wild, native honey bees (Apis breviligula), commonly known as pukyutan, were located--one in a tree near IRRI's Blast Nursery and another in a tree near the perimeter fence of the research plots.

In keeping with the institute’s policy of farming with nature and respecting the environment, the Safety and Security Services, in coordination with the Institute of Biological Sciences at the University of the Philippines headed by Dr. Aimee Lynn Dupo, successfully relocated the bee hives to a safer location.

The relocations were made on 9 April by the bee squad, a team of bee experts led by Alex Fajardo. They also harvested 8 kilograms of honey from the two hives. Each hive can produce approximately 20 kilograms of honey during a typical honey season.

The presence of healthy bee populations is a sign of a clean environment with low levels of pollutants and toxic chemicals. IRRI has been working hard for many years to find sustainable, safer, smarter and more effective ways of managing pests. Through ecological engineering, the institute has reduced pesticide use at its experimental station. The reduction in insecticide use has also contributed to the rich diversity of birds living or passing through IRRI's rice fields.

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