Stingless Bees: Factory Farming With A Future

Sugarbag bees are fun. Young kids are always surprised to discover some Australian bees are both tiny and without a sting. Once they understand these bees are safe company, they can’t resist taking a closer look and become absorbed by the antics of these industrious mini-bees.

In Production Today, March 2014

The most widespread recorded drought in Queensland’s history has meant most of my gardening effort continues to be spent on watering and soil improvement. At least I’m able to keep fruit trees productive and perennials alive. Beds which would normally be filled with seasonal annuals can remain dug, mulched and bare until useful rain arrives. But…

In Flower Today

Brisbane‘s subtropical winter comes to a happy, floriferous end in mid-August. Today there’s around a hundred different plants flowering, two weeks before Australia’s official first day of spring.

New Native Bee Visits ‘Bellis’

I first observed this small native bee working my coriander flowers last week. Clearly it is different from the nine other bees found at ‘Bellis’, helping to pollinate crops.

Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder: Brought You By Bayer CropScience

Nine years after it was reported that due to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides at a landscape level that within years the honeybee may be extinct in England, the European Union agreed a total ban on these bee-killing, bird-killing, fish killing pesticides. Read on…

Honey Flora Report – June

Blue-banded bees are up early, busily pollinating our eggplants and tomatoes. Our potatoes and Phillip Island hibiscus are budding. Meanwhile our honeybees are zooming around gathering far and wide… AUSTRALIAN WILD PLANTS Broad-leaved Paperbark, Melaleuca quinquinervia Forest red gum, Eucalyptus tereticornis Spotted gum, Corymbia citriodora subsp. maculata (syn. C. maculata, Eucalyptus maculata) Brisbane wattle, black…

Native Bee Day

On Saturday I became the proud owner of a hive of native stingless bees, Trigona carbonaria. Damo had done some web-searching and found that Tim Heard, a CSIRO entomologist and native bee specialist, supplies colonies and his brother, Frank, makes specially designed hives for them. Stingless bees and honeybees happily co-exist. Happily Brisbane provides an…

Wynnum Honey Flora

Honeybee health A honeybee colony housed in an organic garden should radically improve pollination (and fruit set), but flowers in one backyard are insufficient to feed a strong colony of 30 – 80,000 honeybees. There’s no commercial horticulture or agriculture in or near the suburb, so the associated risk of pesticide poisoning is low. The…

Bee Day

It’s bee day. Damo has decided to keep honeybees and I’ve agreed to be his backup. I guess I’ll be a surrogate beekeeper. They’re just settling into their new home on our water tank.