Bees play a vital role in helping to produce our food by pollinating fruits, vegetables and crops used to feed animals for meat production.
Sadly however, bee populations have fallen dramatically in the last decade due to factors including habitat loss, the use of pesticides and climate change.
Vanessa Hoo, is a second-generation beekeeper, who is passionate about helping South Australia’s bees, from rescuing unwanted swarms to selling local bee products.
“Bees are losing so much habitat, there’s a lot we can all do in our gardens to help local populations,” Vanessa explains. Here’s Vanessa’s five tips to help South Australian bees.
1. Buy your honey from a local beekeeper
Beekeepers play a vital role in taking care of our bee populations, so look for beekeeper honey at local markets or farmers markets, or honey that has been produced in your local area or state.
2. Grow bee friendly plants
Australian native plants are an excellent source of food and habitat for bees.
3. Avoid using pesticides
“Pesticides are highly toxic to bees,” explains Vanessa. “Many people also think spraying the lawn is okay, but many native bees actually spend a lot of time on the ground.”
Instead consider natural ways to kill weeds, like pouring boiling water on them.
4. Give the bees a drink
Did you know that some bees can drink as much as 10 litres of water a week in summer?
A water source in your garden, like a bird bath or pond with floating ornaments or water plants, gives bees somewhere they can land to have a drink.
5. Host a bee hotel
“I love bee hotels!” explains Vanessa, “Bees have lost so much native habitat they are constantly looking for new places to live.” You can purchase a bee hotel from many garden centres, including the State Flora nursery in Belair National Park or the Diggers Club Shop in Adelaide Botanic Garden.
Forget me not
Help with unwanted bees
Vanessa has found bees in all sorts of locations from bird boxes to air vents in homes, so she always advises people to bee-proof their homes before spring, by covering holes bees can get into. Flyscreen mesh can be put over air bricks using clear silicon at the edges to stick it in place.
If you do end up with an unwanted hive on your property, Vanessa or one of her fellow beekeepers will happily help remove the bees for a small charge, or sometimes even for free. “A beekeeper is always cheaper than a pest controller,” says Vanessa, “and we are always happy to help where we can.”
You can contact Vanessa on 0414 452 419 or visit her website www.mademoisellebee.com
Did you know?
Did you know that if a bee stings you, it dies? Bees will not sting people unless they feel you are a threat to their hive, so if you leave them alone it’s very unlikely you’ll get stung.