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Clarence Native Bees Landcare Group

Monthly group meetings resumed on December 2 with a decision to postpone the Annual General Meeting to Thursday January 13 commencing 5:30pm at the South Grafton District Ex-Servicemen’s Club at 2 Wharf Street, South Grafton. Office holders will be voted on during this meeting.

Two single day native bee workshops will be held with Tobias Smith on both Australian solitary and social bees for both members and the general public, on Saturday and Sunday March 5-6.

Venue is 18-26 Victoria Street Grafton (Clarence Valley Aboriginal Healing Centre / Gurehlgam Corporation building).

Non-members and novices are encouraged to attend. Numbers will be limited to 45 per day. Cost is $40 per person (includes lunch) for non-member and fully paid members for the cost of the lunch only.

Please contact Carol on 6643 3750 if you would like to attend either of these.

Yearly club membership fees are $20 per family.

Anyone wanting to learn more about our local bees or become a caretaker of rescued hives, can join our group, or attend as a visitor.

The club has received several calls about honeybee swarms seen recently. We can put you in contact with honeybee keepers for advice on how to potentially box them.

Advice on how to rescue a fallen native stingless beehive:

We have also received reports of fallen trees and branches with native beehives exposed on the ground. If the nest is split open and accessible, advice would be to remove and place the brood/egg structure with the queen bee who is usually hiding in the egg spiral, along with any worker bees, into a box as soon as possible very gently. This can be wooden, plastic, cardboard, polystyrene foam, tin can or even an Esky. Scissors are handy for cutting the egg spiral away from damaged sections of the hive and broken wax structure. Wax without any honey or pollen can be included for repair material for the bees. Don’t include anything with spilt honey on it as this attracts insect predators that attempt to lay their eggs in the damaged hive. If there are unbroken pots of honey or pollen you can include 4 or 5 of each, but if the damaged hive has been exposed for even a short amount of time, predators may have laid their eggs on the pots, so it becomes an unwarranted risk to include them. Don’t be too concerned about the bees starving. If the weather is suitable, the workers will quickly resume foraging and start constructing and filling pots and the queen will resume egg laying. Seal any gaps or cracks in the new box with masking/duct tape, gap filler or even mud/clay in a pinch, to exclude predators. Make or leave a single entrance hole 6-10mm in diameter for the bees to enter/exit and more easily defend. Drilling a hole or poking a hole through the tape with a small stick is an easy option. Reducing the entrance hole size with some of their wax to about 4mm diameter, will make it very easy for even a single bee to defend and the bees can adjust this to their preference. Leave the box near where the hive fell but shaded from direct sunlight, so loose bees can find their way into the new hive box. They will zero in on the scent of the brood/queen. The more workers you can save, the faster the hive recovers and better chance of survival.

Order of priority: queen, workers, brood. If you must, choose two out of the three, queen and workers. If you can’t find the queen, concentrate on saving the brood and workers. There are usually several slightly larger queen eggs in the brood located on the outer edge of the spiral. They also keep very sticky resin in stockpiles around the hive, that is a valuable resource for defense. If you spot any of that, include in the new hive.

After a few weeks or months, once the hive is stabilized and out of immediate danger, they can be transferred to a more substantial box if needed.

For any urgent native bee rescue enquiries or assistance, please call Bronwynn 0427 690 971 (rescue hotline)

Or visit our website www.clarencenativebees.org or email [email protected]

Bronwynn Lusted

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