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Byron Shire
April 16, 2024

Ben’s passion for native bees

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The native beehive in place at the Ocean Shores Community Garden. Photo supplied.

Having moved to Byron Shire seven months ago Ben Treadaway has brought with him his passion for Australia’s native bees and their preservation.

Ben first discovered his passion for native bees as part of a permaculture course, where they learnt about Australia’s native bee. He was part of starting up a volunteer group called Sydney Native Bees that aims to educate people about native bees and rescue hives.

When Ben moved to the area he contacted local tree loppers and arborists to let them know that if they came across any native bee hives in their work that they could contact him and he would come and remove and relocate them.

‘My overarching goal is to rescue, educate, relocate and conserve the indigenous stingless bee populations within the local community,’ said Ben about his volunteer work.

‘An important part of this process involves educating local tree loppers, including information such as the appropriate spot to cut the tree in order to save the colony, in addition to the process of safely relocating the colony to places of educational and community significance.’

Since he has been here Ben has rescued three native beehives and recently relocated one at the Ocean Shores Community Garden.

‘It was wonderful to observe the many people within the community who were willing to donate their time to help out and make this happen,’ said Ben.

Carmine from the Tallow Tree Services gave Ben a call after they realised there was a native beehive in a dead tree they were removing.

Tallow Tree Services used their machinery and time to ensure the native bee hive was removed safely so that it could be transferred to the Ocean Shores Community Garden.

‘The tree loppers, members of the garden itself, friends and family came together and we cleared and regenerated a section of the community. It was pretty special to experience with such a variety of people from the community coming together and acknowledging the importance of taking small steps to make a difference to the world,’ said Ben with a smile.

There are an amazing 1,660 native bees in Australia, however, only 11 of them are honey makers the other 1,649 are solitary bees. The native honey bees are stingless and the local native honey bee endemic to the north-east coast of Australia is the Tetragonula carbonaria.

Native bees make around one litre of honey a year, compared to your traditional honey bee that makes around 15kgs, so they aren’t used for commercial honey production. However, they do play an important role in pollinations and ensuring the health of biodiversity and conservation.

‘Another massive part of this sort of thing for me is modelling behaviour such as this to the younger generations,’ said Ben who has placed another hive at his daughter’s pre-school.

‘Because they are a stingless bee they are safe for children and it was so good to see so the kids getting stuck in when we were setting up the hive in the community gardens – it was particularly cool.’

If you come a cross a nativebee hive that you think needs removing give Ben a call on 0405 636 674 or email: [email protected].

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