The WildThings program of Ku-ring-gai Council in Sydney has reached a milestone. 500 stingless bee hives have been placed across the council area and beyond. Congratulations to Peter Clarke and the WildThings team!
To celebrate, they ran a special native bee evening on Thursday 17 March. The old church on the Pymble Hill played host to a swarm of native bee enthusiasts.
Presentations by Tim Heard, Dr Megan Halcroft, Dr Tanya Latty and Bob Luttrell (Bob the bee man) delivered the latest news and tips related to native bees and a panel discussion was hosted by ABC Radio's Simon Marnie.
Here are some highlights:
- Native bees in the wild have less diversity in their genetics than managed native bee hives! So to the WildThings programme we say a big thank you!
- More diversity means higher resilience for our native pollinators in the face of climate volatility.
- Native bees are more efficient pollinators than honey bees because they visit flowers heavily dusted with pollen whereas honey bees secrete most of the pollen they collect in baskets on their legs and don’t share it around as generously as their native bee mates.
- Scaling up commercial pollination of crops by native bees will lessen the risk to our food security if and when honey bees here are faced with the colony collapse and the deadly Varroa mite.
- Planting lots and lots of flowering native plants to feed your native pollinators – they evolved together and native pollinators thrive on them.
- And now we have a world first! Patent pending frames and foundation for native bee hives so that honey can be harvested with minimal harm to colonies of native bees. Courtesy of 'Bob the bee man', we have special frames with foundation, multi-level hives and a fabulous extraction spinner to deliver clean, filtered honey with minimal impact on the bees. The photo at the top of this blog shows one of the frames that Bob built for his native bees to make their honey pots in. In terms of inventions, it probably exceeds the Flow Hive in innovation and lateral thinking. WARNING: Only for use in warmer regions where the native bee colonies produce sufficient honey to be able to spare us humans a small quantity.
- Here’s some great links from the panel of presenters
Have fun exploring our achievements here and how we can continue to help our native pollinators! Here's a picture of a Bee Motel which is part of creating new, safe environments for our native bees.