Busy visitors – perils of a roof top garden


I suddenly found some visitors yesterday in my garden.  Hanging on the croton. Are they bees or wasps?


I read that there are 2000 species of bees that don’t produce honey. Only 5% of bees produce honey.

In a book by Laurence Packer “Keeping the Bees – why all bees are at risk and what we can do to save them”

David Suzuki added; “a world without bees would be a world without people “.

Still, I’m not comfortable. I’m not fond of drinking honey and I read that bees are not that hard working and may produce nothing more than a spoonful. After all, why gather honey here in Singapore when we have no winter ?


Photo credit: Himself using macro lenses and standing far away to avoid agitating these intruders into my garden.

I’m waiting for Monday to call the Edible Gardens guys to help me identify if they are bees or wasps.

Update: Edible Gardens doesn’t do that anymore. But they kindly referred me to Xavier from Nutrients who informed me via email that these are Apis Anderinformis. The smallest stinging honey bees in Singapore.

Now I’m realising that it must be a huge problem that the free offers do not stand anymore. Should I call my pest control guys since I’ve a contract with them to deal with my pests?

I’m now going to call Pollen Nation.
Update: Finally reached Eric of Pollen Nation and they don’t do bee removal anymore either. He referred me back to Xavier who likely doesn’t do bee removal anymore. He kindly identified the bees for me but was silent (on email ) about the bee removal part.
I’ve a contract with Pest Control company, but want to do my bit to ensure the ecological diversity of Singapore but looks like I’ve no choice but to call them.

One method is to smoke them off so they go somewhere else. By the way, on a separate note, I’m not going cuckoo, my neighbours are indeed keeping chickens as they flew up the parapet this morning. Male and female. So hopefully they’ll roost at my place and I’ll be having eggs. Unlikely for otters to visit me as I’m on a high rise apartment but who knows?

What do you think ? Do you have any problems in a city garden? At least I don’t have foxes or wild boars or otters eating my fishes in the pond.

Update of my post

I finally found a bee expert, Zestin at the Biodiversity Centre, NParks in Singapore. He was a student of Laurence Packer in Arizona. Now I believe in the networking principle of 6 links away. He was introduced by a friend who is an avid community gardener and who also found someone willing to adopt my bees.

Zestin is publishing a book soon on the bees in Singapore. NParks has 120+ specimens. He told me that there are 4 types of bees in Singapore:
(i) giant bees
(ii) Asian bee
(iii) black dwarf
(iv) floral bees

Mine doesn’t produce honey. Now I understand why no one is interested in moving my bees.

First, they don’t produce enough honey. But they’re still useful for pollination. So please don’t kill the bees.

Second, they don’t like to be in a box. (Thank God that my attempt to purchase a bee hive box was rejected by taobao.) This particular species cannot be kept in a box, as it nests in open combs on exposed branches.

Third, they are migratory. So even if we succeed in putting them in a box and move them, they may not stay in the new location. So it’s not worth the effort. Back to point one, assuming that the intent is for pollination and not for honey.

Most bee movers are only interested in translocating the ones that can be put in the box (Apis cerana, the Asian honey bee).

With Zestin’s assurance that the bees won’t stay for more than 5 months, I began to like them.

3 days later, as if overhearing our conversation, the bees left. Or because they didn’t like the constant heavy downpour. I did pray that God please help me remove the bees without killing them. Not because of the money but because of the flowers and fruits.

I’m now being introduced to more bee experts. We have a Singaporean, Lester who is in Rwanda working with the locals to engage African bees in the honey producing trade. But African bees are known to be aggressive. (I can empathise. Afterall they have no Employment Act or unions to represent them for a fair wage.)


Ta -da – introducing the bee comb.


Zestin circled the queen bee incubator.

NPARKS is having a series of workshops which I hope to attend, now that I’ve a close encounter. I am told that NPARKS has 120 species of bees.

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