Coffs Harbour Branch – April 2024

The Coffs Harbour Branch meeting on Saturday the 16th of March was hosted by branch representative James Orr. It was attended by many of our regulars, but we were fortunate to welcome a new member too. James and Julia were wonderful hosts and we were treated to freshly made coffee and a delicious cake.

Thanks to everyone who attended and contributed to a positive and valuable meeting.
We discussed our participation at the upcoming Coffs Harbour show on the 27th and 28th of April. Dee showed us the selection of books she will make available for show visitors to peruse, and the laminated photos of solitary native bees she has prepared. Elaine showed us the new tablecloth (which co-ordinates with our existing feather flag) and talked about the volunteer roster to help run the stand over the weekend. We are still looking for volunteers. You don’t need to be an expert, just happy and enthusiastic to share your love of native bees. Please sign up via this link.

James told us about his native beekeeping journey and explained the features of the boxes which he uses. Most of his hives are in square boxes (not OATH) which he sources from a friend further north. We viewed the various hives around his house and garden, including a vertical observation hive. One of the highlights of the afternoon was James demonstrating his accuracy with a salt
gun, used for deterring pests.

Wendy had brought her hive all the way from Ballina. After putting on weight for many years, it had started declining. She was concerned about the hive and wanted to open and check it in the presence of others. When it was opened it appeared healthy and very active. Wendy was relieved and felt that our discussions throughout the meeting had helped her immensely.

From Elaine Bean
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The Coffs Harbour branch held a native bee workshop on Saturday the 6th of April. The workshop was well attended and
held at the Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary which hosts one of the branches TC hives. The workshop was presented by Dr Tobias Smith and commenced with a presentation on the amazing diversity of our native bees. He covered the spectrum from solitary to semi-social to eusocial bees, showing specific examples of those that may be found in our region. The audience were clearly engaged by the subject matter and actively participated by asking questions.

The second part of the workshop included the opening of a hive of Tetragonula carbonaria. The importance of protecting our native bees was highlighted in a positive manner by Toby in his checklists on conditions for opening and splitting hives.
The hive was active and the split was through the advancing front which allowed the audience to see both the old and new brood. Toby siphoned off a small amount of honey and gave the participants the chance to taste it.

While the opening of the TC hive was the highlight of the workshop, the participants were also able to look inside an observation hive of Austroplebeia Australis.

The workshop was open to both ANBA members and the general public, with most of the participants being drawn from
outside the association. Most of the participants were not current native beekeepers.
Many thanks to Tiga Cross and her team at the Coffs Coast Wildlife Sanctuary for supporting our branch and providing an
excellent venue.
From Elaine Bean and Lena Schmidt

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