Pollinators to the rescue

While moths and bees are undesirable for homes, they are essential in maintaining nature’s balance.

My cat ate a bee! Should I be worried?

If the bee has been swallowed, then there's nothing to worry about because the bee couldn't have injected its sting before reach the stomach. Once in the stomach, the gastric juices will act on the bee.

However, if your cat has been bitten inside the mouth, this could be a serious situation. This would cause pain and possibly an urticarial reaction with swelling and puffiness around the face. If this is severe, you should get her to the vet for an anti-allergy medicine soon as it may cause swelling around the throat.

How do I deal with moths in my house?

Moths play a very important role in the ecosystem. They are food for several birds and insects; they act as pollinators.

However, moths can damage clothes, specially woolens. The signs of moth infestation include – tiny holes in sweaters, discoloured dusty clothing with a musty smell, webbing in the closet or on food containers etc.

Keeping your clothes stored properly in a clean hygienic way can keep moths away. Place cedar, lavender or lemongrass. Adult moths won't want to go near it because they don't like the smell. Moths thrive in humid conditions, so keep your house humidity in check to prevent infestation.

Moths do not have a very long lifespan. Getting rid of the larvae and eggs by cleaning, vacuuming and sun drying will significantly control the number. Use vinegar to clean your shelves and kitchen.

Do not use moth balls. They don't keep away moths. They stink and make your clothes stink. They are very poisonous and they kill the fish in the water once you wash them away. Some people foolishly keep them in sinks where they kill no pests – except the human.

How can I extract honey from a honeycomb, without encroaching or getting hurt, myself?

If you want to extract honey from a natural beehive, it is going to be a very difficult task. You will end up killing bees, destroying their colony and even hurting yourself in the process. You will need protective gear to do so as well. The best way to extract honey is from a man-made hive.

It would be much better to put up swarm traps. In that manner, you could get one or two starter colonies to put in your own hives.

Bees build the beehive like a sphere. They build equally distanced vertical combs so that they can work from both sides. The queen lays the egg at the centre of the hive.

In man-made hives "bars" or frames are used to encourage the bees to make the comb as uniform as possible. Frames are a rectangular wooden structure that can be filled with foundation, a plastic hexagon base to encourage the bees to build exactly in the frame and cells of the proper size.

Using a man-made hive, you simply put on protective gear and open the hive. You can spray the bees with sugar water which makes their wings wet and gets them busy cleaning each other. Then you pull up the frames or bars from the hive and get all the bees off, brushing them down into the hive.

Once you have the combs, you put them in a centrifuge and spin them. This will leave the wax intact and remove the honey. Or, you can cut pieces of the comb out to have honey in comb. In both cases, you can put the comb back in the hives for the bees to reuse or take the wax as well and let them draw out a new comb.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to

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