Cassowary Coast Branch – July 2023

Our July meeting was held at Bartle Frere and kindly hosted by Sue and Bert on their cane farm. The meeting included our AGM, a general meeting and a diverse tour of Sue’s hives.
The AGM election was completed first. Last year’s com-mittee were happy to nominate themselves for the same roles for the upcoming year and there were no new nominees for positions, hence the committee remains unchanged for the upcoming year. Sandy continues as secretary, Deirdre as treasurer and myself (Liz) as chairperson.

We followed the AGM with a short general meeting where we discussed possible events and meetings for the next 12 months. These tentative events include:
September: meeting, looking for a volunteer to host; November: event for pollinator week; March: Feast of the Senses stall; May: combined meeting with Cairns possibly on Tablelands; July: AGM.
The second topic covered was best methods for advertising our meetings and it was agreed that emailing will be continued, as well as the ANBA website events calendar, the Cross-Pollinator and our Facebook page.

Lastly, Stewart (Cairns branch chair) and I wore our new ANBA shirts to the meeting which spurred a lot of inter-est from members wanting to purchase their own shirt. The shirts will be available to order in the near future through the ANBA.
Once the formalities of the meeting were completed, we moved onto the fun part of the meeting we had all been looking forward to, where Sue and Bert took us on a tour of their vast array of hives, both boxed and wild. This was our second visit to their Bartle Frere farm with the last visit being about 18months prior, so it was interesting to see the progress of old hives and the new hives Sue had set up, including ones she has built from recycled timber and adapted from old timber tissue box covers.

They don’t call our area the wet tropics for nothing, and the days prior to our meeting were wet! Due to the potential for a wet meeting, well organised Sue prepared a collection of photos of bees in her garden and hives. They were an excellent visual aid to supplement her hive updates, as well as a record of the different types of solitary, social and semi-social bees that visit her garden and flowers.

Sue has recently acquired a carbonaria hive that had potential for splitting. On opening we saw a strong busy hive but decided that there wasn’t enough brood and stores to split the hive. Also, we couldn’t spot a queen cell and due to these collective concerns, we decided to close the hive up for a few months and leave it to strengthen before attempting another split.
Lastly we finished with Bert raising the lid on their Telstra pit which contains a very old sapiens hive. When we last looked inside, the lid was covered in a white, sticky sap that we suspect was inadvertently collected by bees visiting jackfruit flowers, and deposited at a “waste station” on entry into the hive. On this viewing, the lid was relatively clean and showed no sign of the resin, no doubt due to us visiting in a different season.
Jane Frost captured some stunning shots throughout the meeting, including these exceptional photos of bees and brood in the Telstra pit.
Many thanks to Sue and Bert for hosting and everyone who made the effort to attend and Jane for her great photos.
From: Liz Lang, Secretary / Treasurer
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