Cairns branch – December 2023

Tropical Cyclone Jasper
At the time of writing this report, our region has seen TC Jasper blow through 4 days ago. Members received lots of advice on how to look after hives in the leadup and during the actual landfall of this huge weather event. Jasper breached the coast as a Category 2 system and although there was some damage, we believed we had escaped relatively lightly. Hives started to be unstrapped and although the rain and winds continued into the next day, most people were breathing a little easier. Jasper however had not finished with us quite yet and there was certainly more than a slight sting in the tail. We have seen rainfall levels of between 200 and 300mm of rain every 24hours for the past 4 days and there promises to be more tomorrow (and beyond).
Most of Cairns has been cut off by flood waters and so-cial media is rife with stories of heartbreak and woe. How is this affecting our native bees, you ask? By the time you are reading this Cross Pollinator the rain will surely have stopped, the yards will have dried out, and our hives assessed. I can only hope to share good news with you in the next edition. Time will tell.
The most recent Cairns branch meeting was held on 3rd December.
Chair’s Report – Stewart Clarke
Cairns Council Sustainability and Climate Change Grant, items being funded:

  • One Hockingsi observation hive from Nick Smith,
  • One Hockingsi hive – no honey super – from Nick Smith, to be placed at Half Moon Bay Golf Club.
  • One garden seat to be placed next to hive at Golf Club.
  • Two stainless steel plaques with ANBA and Council logos and QR Code to our FB Page to be attached to hive and garden seat.
  • 250 fridge magnets.
  • 1 kg native bee honey from Nick Smith.
  • Security cage for golf course hive from Spicers Hol-low Bees.
  • $300 advertising for Cairns Local paper.
    Most of this will be installed in the new year. There will be an unveiling event which will be advertised for all to attend and celebrate at the Half Moon Bay Golf Club. Details to follow.
    Short notice was received for the closing date of another grant through the FRRR (Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal). Stewart completed the grant process and has asked for funds to purchase 10 hives through Zabels in SE Qld.
    Yorkeys Knob Twilight Markets were successfully attended with lots of positive conversations. It might however not be the best venue for us in the future…most people were on their way to watch Christmas per-formances and not meandering and browsing. Olly was mentioned and thanked for his help in making the event a success by supplying the live hive, chairs, cool drinks, and trolley to transport equipment.

Special guest Holly Farnan JCU by video link.
Holly has been working with other JCU faculty to examine how T. hockingsi native stingless bees cope with heat after being exposed to different levels of insecticide. The tropical distribution of these bees puts them at risk given the trends of increasing insecticide use in the tropics in particular, and the potential for combined effects of insecticide exposure and heat stress.
We look forward to talking with Holly again in the future.
Honey harvesting with Michael Dunne
Michael showed us the tool he has developed to harvest honey … a real ‘bed of nails’ and we look forward to putting it to use at our next meeting when Stewart Clarke will bring a hive with a full honey super ready to be harvested.

Eductions with Olly Kiettipipat
Olly brought in 2 T. clypearis hives and talked us through the eduction process. It was a fascinating talk that concluded with Olly identifying a queen in both sections that were connected at his house. They are now ready to be disconnected.
Our meeting finished with the sharing of toasts for the Christmas period.
From: Stewart Clarke, Chair and Representative to ANBA
ANBA Cairns Branch Facebook group,

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