Honey in your own backyard

Published 19 June 2015. Reading about the plight of earth's major pollinators prompted one man to do something about it and he is now a self-proclaimed 'beevangelist'...

Reading about the plight of earth's major pollinators prompted one man to do something about it and he is now a self-proclaimed 'beevangelist'.

The worldwide bee decline has been attributed to two main threats; the Varroa Destructor and Colony Collapse Disorder.

Varroa, a flea-sized parasitic mite, attaches to bees, weakens them and spreads a virus which can kill entire colonies. Despite it's catastrophic effects on honeybee populations overseas, less is known about Colony Collapse Disorder and it's causes are still being debated. The overuse of pesticides, pathogens and environmental stressors have all been hypothesised but the jury is still out.

Fortunatley, Australia is currently free from these threats but they have the potential to devastate honeybee populations and have disastrous effects on crop pollination.

In 2010 Doug Purdie started The Urban Beehive, a boutique beekeeping and honey-making business, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding local bee populations and raising awareness of these threats. The Urban Beehive captures feral bee swarms and places them all over Sydney to help boost natural pollination and to maintain the genetic diversity of honeybees.

The Urban Beehive now manages more than 70 beehives in backyards, community gardens, balconies and even on rooftops across the city, from Bondi to Marrickville.

Doug is also the president of the NSW Amateur Beekeepers Association and last year he published his first book, "Backyard Bees - a Guide for the beginner beekeeper".

Watershed Landcare have invited Doug to present a lecture on backyard beekeeping at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days next month.

Come along and learn how easy it is to keep bees; they don’t take a lot of time and by having a hive you are helping the planet. Doug will provide an overview to installing and maintaining a hive through the seasons to keep happy, healthy bees, and how and when to harvest the liquid gold.

Watershed Landcare will host a program of speakers at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days in the Straw Bale Lecture Room (L40).

Topics include sustainable home design, stress free stockmanship, using native grasses on your property and investing in agriculture.

For the full lecture program, head to the Watershed Landcare website: www.watershedlandcare.com.au

This event is supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from the Australian Government's 25th Anniversary Landcare Grants.