Gladstone Branch – February 2023

Can’t believe how the time has flown, seems like Christmas was just yesterday. After a couple of members contacting me about when our next meeting might be, I decided at short notice to call a meeting on Sat 18th Feb at the residence of Wayne & Belinda Piper whom I had mentioned and visited last year.

Wayne has a very extensive collection of hives that he has rescued as part of his business as a Wild Animal Spotter for development and construction work. He currently has around 165 hives plus on his 12 hectare block of natural bushland although I suspect that number may be very conservative. He mills his own timber and builds all his hives from hardwood and his hives are all predominantly propagated by the eduction method. Each of his box hives are set up on a fabricated stand which facilitates easy placement of two hives for eduction. Interestingly he has never done a hard split.

After some morning tea and a quick meeting Wayne gave a very informative talk on his accomplishments and learnings before leading the group around some of his property viewing many of his hives. Pretty sure we will be back here again in the future with those members who were unable to attend this time.

The following day I was called by the care-taker of an accommodation unit complex in Gladstone concerned about stingless bees swarming around the steps in one of the units the previous day. On arrival the lady indicated where they had been swarming but had since stopped but the evidence of a fighting swarm was discovered on the ground nearby. I found not one but two hives in the step support structure of two of the units, these are hollow galvanized pipes with drainage holes in the capped ends. I am now planning to connect eduction hives to both and provide the complex with signage and documentation about stingless bees.

I was recently sitting in my back garden (enjoying some outdoor TV) observing the behaviour of an eduction hive I had disconnected from the mother hive 2 days before when I observed some bees going into the ground under a small hollow log not 1m away. Closer inspection revealed an entrance tube the bees had construct-ed going into the hollow log and pretty sure they are AA (Austroplebeia australis). The log had been from a previously res-cued log and placed as garden edging and the bees decided it would make a good home. These little guys never cease to amaze me.
Ian Anderson
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