What needs to happen?
On a global scale we need to look after the welfare of our bees and ensure that their population does not further decline.Increasing their food sources by creating more areas with a rich variety of flowering plants, would be helpful. Flower and herb beds instead of concrete, paved areas and manicured green lawns where every flower raising its head is chopped down to ground zero.Large areas of monoculture crop farming can be broken up into smaller areas and interspersed with a variety of different crops or herbs and flowering plants, providing great health benefits for the bees, re-creating a sustainable existence for our bees.We need to increase the number of beekeepers, especially in those areas where crop pollination is required, so bees don't need to be transported long distance to locations where and when they are needed. A much better approach is to have 1,000 beekeepers with two hives each, than one beekeeper with 2,000 hives.However, as long as we maintain crop farming in large concentrated areas we also need those beekeepers able to supply large numbers of beehives for pollination for the short time period required. Can you imagine the logistical chaos which would occur if instead thousands of beekeepers would bring one or two hives each for pollination?
Helping each other
Bees are helping usBees help to provide the food we enjoy and need for our survival.For millions of years bees have been playing a very important role in our ecosystem by pollinating flowering plants and hereby ensuring their reproduction. By doing that bees have been helping us to survive, directly by helping to provide the plant food we eat and indirectly by helping to provide the food for our meat stock. And as a bonus, bees produce delicious honey - well, not for us but for themselves. Please rest assured that a responsible beekeeper only takes surplus honey out of the hive, always leaving sufficient stores for the bees until the next flower season.Beekeepers are helping beesBeekeepers help bees by providing housing for them and placing them where their presence is desired and where they find sufficient food. Beekeepers nurture their bees when they are in trouble. When there is insufficient nectar or pollen in the area where the bees are located, they get relocated or fed. When pests and diseases strike, beekeepers do what they can to help fighting the disease or isolate the hive so it does not spread to other bees. A more appropriate term for Beekeepers would be Bee carers.Beekeepers are helping the PublicBeekeepers can capture swarms and relocate unwanted bee colonies from locations they are not wanted. Once bees are housed in proper beehives we have control over their location and can relocate them, should they become a risk or threat to an allergic person. Mobile beehives can also be moved to locations where and when needed for pollination. Beekeepers, providing this service help the community at large by helping to provide the food we all enjoy. Beekeepers also repackage honey produced by their bees from the hive into convenient containers, so we can enjoy it at our breakfast table without being surrounded by angry bees.
How everyone can help
Try not to kill themThe next time you see a bee swarm or you come across bees and think you have a problem, try not to kill them or have them exterminated. There is no need to panic - contact your nearest beekeeper, who would most likely be able to help you. For swarm collection and bee removal please see the details under [Bee Removal]Establishing a Bee-friendly backyardYou can also improve the quality of life for our bees by planting a few bee-friendly plants in your backyard - more under [Bee-friendly Backyard]Minimising the use of PesticidesAnd then there is the common use of pesticides. It has become so convenient to just drive down to the hardware store for the latest bug killer to solve a bug problem, you don’t think twice about it - but perhaps you should. By trying to solve one small problem you could be creating an even bigger problem. One of the main issues with pesticides is that you cannot see them and they tend to get easily spread by the wind. If they would just remain where they were sprayed, that would be one thing, but they don't. Volatile pesticides drift all over when sprayed and can spread a good distance if there is circulating air or a breeze.Hosting and/or sponsoring a BeehiveBecoming a beekeeper and caring for those little creatures is probably not for everyone. Some people want to help nature by hosting a beehive or two in their backyard, but are unable to dedicate the time, love and care required and are looking for a beekeeper who does it for them. Hosting a hive or two on your property and having it/them looked after by a beekeeper is another way of helping our bees. Usually the sponsor contributes to the cost of this service and receives some honey in return.Becoming a BeekeeperAt first glance Beekeeping might not be the most appealing sport. Why do you want to expose yourself to bee stings? If it was not for the love of these fascinating and amazing little creatures, why would you want to rush into it? Amazingly, once you have started to care for some bees you fall in love with these fascinating little creatures; it is addictive. Most beekeepers are very passionate about their bees. There are many reasons to take up beekeeping as a hobby. It is a far better to have 1,000 beekeepers with two hives each, rather than one beekeeper with 2,000 hives.If you are interested please see the details under [Becoming a Beekeeper]
Land owners can help by offering their land to beekeepers for temporary accommodation of some beehives when gum trees are flowering on their land or within a radius of three kilometers. Usually the land owner receives some honey in return.Honeybees feed on pollen and nectar from flowering plants. For their survival and wellbeing bees need to feed on a variety of different flowering plants. During the warmer time of the year bees forage to collect nectar and pollen and what is not eaten during this time gets stored in their nest in honeycomb. During times when there is not enough nectar and pollen to collect, i.e. on cold or wet days or during a drought, bees use their storage. This method has been working for the bees for millions of years.However, we have been experiencing some very unusual conditions over the years that even during spring and summer in some areas of Victoria there was not enough nectar and pollen for bees to survive. Beekeepers in Victoria had to feed their bees with sugar syrup and pollen substitute to prevent them from starving.The main source of nectar and pollen for our bees in Australia are Eucalyptus trees (gum trees); they usually flower for four to eight weeks and the different varieties, flowering at different times of the year, could be providing an almost constant food source for our bees. Unfortunately the different species of gum trees are not evenly distributed; in most areas you find two or three types of trees and when they don't produce flowers for the year there is a food shortage for our bees in that area and the bees need to be relocated or fed.Land owners can help by offering their land to beekeepers for temporary accommodation of some beehives.To provide bees with a variety of food sources it is common practice to relocate bees to those areas where nectar and pollen can be found; i.e. migratory or nomadic beekeeping.
In pursuit of gum trees in flower, beekeepers travel around and when a patch of flowering gum trees is found, attempts are made to locate the owner of the property and ask for permission to temporarily accommodate a few beehives on the property. When the land owner can be located, permission is usually granted and the bees have found "greener pastures" to forage and collect nectar and pollen. There are situations though when the land owner cannot be located and asked for permission and although there are many flowering trees, they remain unreachable for the bees.To make beekeeping sustainable, land owners can help by offering their land to beekeepers for temporary accommodation of some beehives at the time when Gum Trees and/or Tea Tree etc. are flowering on their land or within a radius of two kilometres.
Land owners with a property of one acre or more, with flowering Native flora on their or on neighbouring land are invited to contact us and give us the opportunity to bring a minimum of four beehives to their property in return for a few jars of fresh honey.