For some people, discovering a swarm of bees have moved into the backyard would be like something out of a Stephen King novel, but that’s not the case for small-scale beekeepers.
For members of the Wagga Beekeeping Club, removing a swarm of bees from someone’s property is an opportunity to restock existing hives, or help new members get hives established.
Club member Neil McMullen said the challenge of removing a swarm was different in every situation.
“You’ve got to think about it,” Mr McMullen said.
Small-scale beekeeping was increasing in popularity, Mr McMullen said.
“We have a list of people who have indicated they are waiting for a swarm,” he said.
Mr McMullen said urban beekeeping was increasing in popularity, even in inner-city areas.
“We are lucky to have the clean air we have in the Riverina,” Mr McMullen said.
Macquarie University has just released details of a study which looked at the lead levels in honey bees in areas of Sydney and in Broken Hill.
“The results were unequivocal — they showed clearly the different sources and origins of lead across the study areas. The lead isotopes showed that background honey bees and their products contained natural lead levels, whereas those from Sydney and Broken Hill were clearly contaminated by legacy petrol sources and ongoing mining emissions, respectively,” said Mark Taylor, leader of the research team.
Professor Taylor believes lead contamination is unlikely to be a problem for Riverina bee populations.
However, he said the study should serve as a warning about the use of chemicals and their impact on eco-systems, and on humans.
That is a view shared by Paul Weston, an entomologist at Charles Sturt University’s Wagga campus.
”It is a wake-up call that we are doing things that can have long-reaching impact,” Dr Weston said.
“The lead they found in Sydney could be traced back to petrol that hasn’t been sold since 2002.
“We just need remember things can have unintended consequences.”
To contact the Wagga Beekeeping Club about removing a swarm, call Mr McMullen on 0412 267 134.