Bee aware to survive
This week at the Karratha Community Garden, volunteers and visitors were treated to an impromptu honey-making demonstration.
For many in the audience this was the first time they had seen honey collection and extraction in action, and they were rewarded with a pot of gold.
Australia has more than 1500 species of native bees, with about 800 species found only in WA.
In Karratha the arid environment makes it difficult for bees to adapt and survive.
Yet the ever-elusive local bees continue to work their magic in the Pilbara environment, primarily through pollination rather than production of honey.
With a little care and equipment it is also possible to support honey bees in Karratha.
While a permit is needed to maintain a hive in the townsites, the equipment demonstrated at the community garden was simple.
A hand-cranked cylinder removed the liquid honey from the trays after the wax was removed, and gravity drew the honey down the cylinder’s sides to a tap, delivering a stream of aromatic honey into waiting cups.
Bees are crucial to the world’s food supply with 70 per cent of the global horticultural and agricultural crops relying on them for pollination. Yet it is estimated that more than 50 per cent of the world’s bee population has died, primarily because of the Varroa mite.
Recent research suggests that the decline in numbers could also be caused by the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.
It is hoped that through demonstrations such as these the community learns more about the “eco-system services” delivered by hard workers such as bees.
The Karratha Community Garden volunteers and visitors were treated to an impromptu honey-making demonstration by a local beekeeper last week.