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 Post subject: Tankwa Karoo bees at Elandsberg cottages
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 10
http://elephantseyegarden.blogspot.com/ ... tages.html

We wish that SANParks had a waterhole for the wildlife,
instead of an unusable plunge pool.

These 'problem bees' are solitary, building their nests in the mud walls. Using pollen to feed the larva, in the flower season. They need water to seal the mud nests.

No idea if the plunge pool is usable out of the flower season. But we came to see the flowers, and were sad to spend time skimming drowning bees and wasps off the surface. And to see birds battling desperately, to cling to the concrete rim, against the stiff breeze, and the water being circulated by the solar powered filter.

Come on SANParks we need a wildlife friendly waterhole. Please?


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 Post subject: Re: Tankwa Karoo bees at Elandsberg cottages
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:51 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Northern Cape
Dear Elephants Eye,

Thank you for your valued input and concern for the smaller members of our beautiful park.

We do indeed have two waterholes for wildlife use within a two to three kilometer radius of the cottages at Elandsberg. It is not our policy to construct waterholes in the immediate proximity of tourism accommodation unless boreholes and other infrastructure necessitate this. In order to prevent damage to vegetation and improve movement of animals throughout the whole landscape and therefore ensure greater resilience of all species concerned, it is not practice to construct water points closer than a 5km radius from one another. Therefore we will unfortunately not be able to construct any further animal water points within the Elandsberg vicinity.

Small birds, rodents and insects will always make opportunistic use of any available water source and hence the use of our splash-pools. The covers for the pools, apart from a safety precaution to prevent small children falling into the pools and limit evaporation of water, is also a deterrent to prevent insects and birds making use of the pools. We therefore propose to request our visitors to ensure the pool is covered at all times when not in use. A floating “island” will also be put into pools to aid any birds, etc. that may accidentally fall into the pool, should the pool be uncovered and unattended for limited periods.

I hope this finds you in order and assures you of our concern for the park and all its inhabitants.

Kind regards,

_________________
Letsie Coetzee
Section Ranger
Tankwa Karoo National Park


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 Post subject: Re: Tankwa Karoo bees at Elandsberg cottages
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:34 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:15 pm
Posts: 787
Thank you . I appreciate the info and possible solution although I have yet to visit here.


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 Post subject: Re: Tankwa Karoo bees at Elandsberg cottages
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 10
Dear Letsie,

Thanks, I have added a link and part of your reply to my blog post.

The tarpaulin helps, but we did still see determined bees crawling under the tarpaulin. I think they like to climb into the dripping inlet pipe.

Looking forward to seeing the first Floating Island ;~)

Regards from Diana in Porterville


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 Post subject: Re: Tankwa Karoo bees at Elandsberg cottages
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:33 pm
Posts: 3
We stayed at Elandsberg in December for three days (and were so impressed we immediately booked another ten for September!!) and here are my thoughts on the birds and the bees (at the splash pool I mean :)).

It's a situation I don't think the park management can ignore.

One has to accept that the bees have first option at the pool. They're part of the 'wild life' after all. But their presence at the pool varied enough to allow us dips during the morning and late afternoon, sort of before they rise, and after bee bed time. But for better or worse the splash pools are theirs during the day.

The birds manage quite well, dipping forward to drink water from the side, and we watched hundreds of them have a drink without any casualties. I placed a bowl of water on the side wall for them thinking it may help them, but they seemed to actually _prefer_ the pool.

Fortunately the bees are not aggressive but I think sooner or later a person with an allergy will get stung and there'll be an emergency, inevitably lawyers will be involved, which will mean the end of the splash pools. Pity, as we enjoyed them as couch potato bird watching spots.

I'm not a bee expert, but someone who is may also be able to come up with a solution, perhaps there's some ointment or other that'll keep them away?

All in all, after many, many visits to other national parks Elandsberg gets my vote as the ultimate getaway-from-it-all park destination, bees or no bees.


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 Post subject: Re: Tankwa Karoo bees at Elandsberg cottages
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:51 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Northern Cape
Hi there,

I am so glad you enjoyed our little friends and the cottage so much that we will be seeing you again in September! :)

I can assure you that we, as management, are not ignoring the bees and are mindful of our guests’ safety. However, as extermination of the bees or closing of splash pools are the absolute last resort, it has taken a bit longer to look at all the various options available to us. Thus far we have had bee specialists in the park and looked at preventative measures prescribed in other National Parks. We are presently sourcing the “ointments” (proved to be quite a headache to find locally…) as suggested by these policies and will discuss with our SANParks entomologist to ensure all’s safe for all. Training in bee removal unfortunately had to be postponed last year, but will be scheduled as soon as possible within the next month or so. I believe the training will provide our staff with the adequate knowhow to deal with the problems associated with bees at public facilities. The floating platforms (called Froglog and deemed as the best device available to aid insects and our other little friends to climb out of pools), as per one of my previous posts, have also been obtained. Along with other procedures to be put in place, I am sure these will have a marked affect on bee presence at cottages as well as their drowning in pools, which may inadvertently cause stings to their human “co-users”.

Bees are not normally aggressive when they are at water sources and highly unlikely to sting someone, as they are not at their hive to protect food and young, as are the bee swarms “kicked out” of the hive when it gets a bit over crowded. However, understandably, the sight of / a swarm of bees head butting you to get to the water as well, could be a bit :) frightening. With regards to bee stings - we do have emergency procedures in place (called Immediate Action Drills) should any medical emergency occur in the park, with staff also trained in first aid. Until such time as we are sure that our interventions are working, we will provide visitors with procedures to follow (which will include notifying us should they have severe allergic reaction to bee sting) should bees be present at their accommodation unit and to aid prevention of bees at units.

One of our recent visitors have made some suggestions we will also be looking in to. If there are any suggestions from the forum, please feel free to contact us.

_________________
Letsie Coetzee
Section Ranger
Tankwa Karoo National Park


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