Why bees need our help

Many of us would have noticed there are fewer bees buzzing about these days, but there’s no shortage of them in Elanora.

Resident Peter Davenport has been breeding the smaller native variety for around 30 years.

He said there are a few important differences between natives and honey bees – one is they don’t sting.


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Mr Davenport also said because native bees are a bit smaller they will go further into a flower, like the tiny macadamia flower.

He said that is one of the main reasons he breeds natives “and a lot of people are allergic to honey bees and they can’t have them around their orchards”.

He also supplies bees to the botanic and community gardens on the Gold Coast.

Some of Mr Davenport’s bees can also be found at Kindergartens to “teach the little kids about the bees” he paused before joking “they can learn about the birds later”.

He went on to explain why we do not see as many bees flying around in our gardens these days.

He said a hive beetle was introduced from Africa “all of the hives in the trees, they become invaded by this hive beetle and nobody can look after them so we’re losing out on the honey bees in trees that was offering a free pollination service, that’s all disappearing now unless somebody’s got some bees near you in a box or something that they can look after”.

Mr Davenport said traps can be put in honey bee hives to catch the hive beetle, which can contain oil or poison.

“It’s a real pest, it just comes and lays its maggot all through their pollen and honey and stuff and it even tricks the bees into feeding it, they thinks it’s their baby” he said.

A recent Queensland-based study found that bees battling a common gut parasite are less able to pollinate.

That is significant given about a quarter of food production is dependent on honey bee pollination.

For more on the study results click here.

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