native bee workshops newcastle

Native Bee Workshops

13 March 2014

Febeerary was the month for Native Stingless Bee Workshops in Newcastle. Thanks to generous support from the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment and Newcastle City Council, 120 native bee enthusiasts were fortunate to experience a very practical workshop from Australia's leading stingless bee experts Dr Tim Heard (CSIRO entomologist) and Tony Goodrich (native bee apiarist).

Febeerary was the month for Native Stingless Bee Workshops in Newcastle. Thanks to generous support from the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment and Newcastle City Council, 120 native bee enthusiasts were fortunate to experience a very practical workshop from Australia's leading stingless bee experts Dr Tim Heard (CSIRO entomologist) and Tony Goodrich (native bee apiarist).

The workshops covered the taxonomy, biology, pollination services, forage and habitat requirements, domestic beekeeping techniques, propagation, honey extraction, threats to, and conservation of the Tetragonula cabonaria species of social stingless native bee. Australia has 11 species of stingless bees but this is the most prevalent species along the subtropical east coast to as far south as Bega. Several participants reported the presence of these native bees in tree hollows throughout local bushland areas. There are some great display hives for public viewing at the Hunter Wetlands Centre and Hunter Region Botanic Gardens.

A delicious tasting of sugarbag honey over vanilla ice cream was the sweet ending to the workshops. Sugarbag is the Aboriginal name for the bush tucker honey made by native stingless bees, it is a highly prized food with a tangy almost citrus like flavour.  If you're lucky enough to find some for sale you can expect to pay over $100/kg it truly is liquid gold. The best way to study these bees, increase biodiversity, and sample local sugarbag, is to get a hive in your own backyard. A list of suppliers is available at http://www.aussiebee.com.au/buy-stingless-bees.html

There was overwhelming interest in these native bee workshops and as a result the Tom Farrell Institute for the Environment has established the Australian Native Bee Network group on Facebook and will administer a Hunter Region Native Bee email network to facilitate the sharing of information and delivery of future workshops. For more information email Danielle.Lloyd-Prichard@newcastle.edu.au

Contact: Danielle Lloyd-Prichard
Contact Phone: 0249216214
Contact Email: danielle.lloyd-prichard@newcastle.edu.au