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Save Bees: How You Can Help 2017-05-25T11:56:24+00:00

Meet The Bees

Bees have three castes, the worker, the queen and the drone. Note the 3 images below (© Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.) It’s easy to determine the castes if you look closely. The worker has smaller compound eyes than the drone and the queen has a longer thorax. The queens body extends far beyond the end tips of it’s wings unlike the worker and the drone.

THE WORKER
The most common member of a bee colony is the infertile female bees known as the worker. She has many duties including cleaning cells, nurse, wax production, capping cells, feeding drones, attending to the queen, building honeycomb, storing pollen, propolis production, removing dead bees, fanning, gathering water, guarding the colony, foraging nectar and pollen, scouts seeking a new home when the colony swarms. These duties are carried out by most workers according to mostly to their age. Typically, she will live only six weeks before she dies as a forager bee.

THE QUEEN
Ruling a colony by only one at a time, the queen bee is capable of producing up to 2,000 eggs per day. As she ages her egg laying abilities decline and often lays her eggs in an irregular pattern. As she begins to fail to lay eggs, her workers will make a democratic decision to replace her by constructing a swarm queen cell from a worker cell that is aimed at raising a new queen from a worker egg. If the queen were to suddenly die, an unplanned and urgent queen cell will be constructed by the workers to raise a queen. The difference between a queen and a worker is the level of extra nourishment a queen is fed royal jelly in its’ first two days whilst in their larval stage.

THE DRONE
As the only males in the colony, the drones sole purpose in life is to find and mate with a virgin queen after which the drone dies almost immediately when his abdomen is ripped open. Drones gather to find a virgin queen mid-air in high numbers known as the drone congregation area.  Drones are created from infertile eggs, therefore, they only have a mother (the queen) and a grandfather but do not have a father. The drone only has 16 chromosomes (as opposed to the females that have 32) thus the drone inherits all its’ genetic makeup from its’ mother. The drone is the only bee without a stinger to defend itself. As winter approaches and food supplies become scarce, any drones remaining in the colony will often be thrown out of the colony by the workers.

Not everyone can be a beekeeper

but there are many more ways all of us can help save bees

Instead of using a herbicide, consider the alternatives. There are certainly many options to take like removing weeds by hand, pouring boiling water on a weed. Spraying a weed’s flower is like baiting a trap for pollinators especially bees who are attracted to the bright yellow colour of dandelions. Bees will visit a flower many times and spraying poison is not ideal for our bees and our environment. Some people may argue that it has minimal effects on bees but with the drastic problems bees face worldwide, wouldn’t better practice in weed spraying make a difference? Think about the choices you make when spraying in your backyard, around your home or anywhere. If you care about bees and our flora, fauna and our world as a whole, protect the pollinators that do all the ground work.
The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation of Australia have published a comprehensive and informative book on bee friendly plants called Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators by Mark Leech. It’s a highly detailed and well illustrated book and it’s available for sale from their website but also there is a free version available to download in PDF form. If you want to know which plants are best for bees, We highly recommend you get this book now. You can download this book for free from the RIRDC website here.
Your local plant nursery or council can assist you with the best plants to gather for your garden. The Sutherland Shire Council, for example, provides a great range of native plants at their nursery at very affordable prices. Please visit the councils Bush Care page for more info here.
Bees are quite incredible and amazing creatures. They are, in fact, the most studied living creature on earth only second to mankind. Learning more about bees will give you an appreciation for their world and the environment we all share and live in. Check back here frequently to learn more about bees.

Buying local honey and other bee products will not only help your local beekeeper continue with their work but it also help the bees in our local communities and environment. You can buy local honey and more in our shop

You can encourage many local native bees into your backyard by building a native bee house, It’s simple to do and the environment and the bees will thank you. More details on how to build a native bee house will be included here soon.

You can find out a lot more about bees and see bees in an apiary by visiting one of many beekeeper’s clubs in every corner of the world. If you are in Sydney, there is a full time apiary and museum open in Sutherland.  Find out more about the illawarra beekeepers by visiting their website here.
If you witness a swarm of bees in your yard for example, please don’t harm the bees. Call your local council and they will put you in touch with an experienced swarm collector or better still contact your local beekeeping association. If you are in the Sydney NSW Australia, you can contact the illawarra Beekeepers Association who will assist you.
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