Tony’s the bee res­cuer

Isis Town and Country - - News - By PETRA DE JONG

CHILDERS man Tony Har­vey comes pre­pared with chain­saw and hoist when he re­sponds to calls to res­cue na­tive bees af­ter hours and on week­ends.

In spring and sum­mer when the bees are most ac­tive, Mr Har­vey saves about eight hives a month.

Na­tive bees pre­fer hol­low trees to nest in but dead trees are of­ten re­moved for safety.

As a re­sult Mr Har­vey finds bees in wall cav­i­ties, wa­ter me­ter boxes, even bar­be­cues.

When a hive be­comes ex­posed to the weather it is vul­ner­a­ble to preda­tors like syr­phid and phorid flies.

Hive bee­tles lay eggs in weak hives, killing the colony in a mat­ter of days. This is why dam­aged hives are trans­ferred to boxes that also make them por­ta­ble for a pol­li­na­tion ser­vice at crop farms.

Wide Bay is home to three species of so­cial stin­g­less bees: Te­tragonula Hock­ingsi, Car­bonaria and Aus­tro­ple­beia aus­tralis.

All are black, 4mm long and with large back legs on which to store pollen.

Aus­tralis has a small sand coloured mark­ing, but is iden­ti­fied by the veil of wax they build at the en­trance of their hive each night, while Hock­ingsi bees are slightly big­ger and their broods look messy com­pared to other hives.

Na­tive bees pro­duce less than a kilo of “sugar bag” a year, while api­arists can col­lect 25 kilo­grams of honey from Euro­pean bee­hives.

To at­tract bees you can plant na­tive trees like can­dle nut, lilly pilly and cal­lis­te­mons.

De­tails for a work­shop on Septem­ber 6 will be posted on the Wide Bay Stin­g­less Bees Face­book page.

Mr Har­vey will be at the Woodgate Easter Fair on Mon­day at site E15.

You can phone Tony on 0499 027 115.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

MOV­ING HOUSE: Tony Har­vey un­loads a log hive.

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