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SmartFarmer • May 2014
Hives spread bee word in city
There is a growing interest in bee-keeping and
Who: CBD Bees
Business: Urban beekeepers whose mission
statement is 'caring for Australia's bees'.
The enterprise brings bees into the city of
Adelaide by placing beehives on rooftops
and gardens. It promotes discussion on a
greener and more sustainable city and aims
to capture the interest of all age groups.
Products: Beekeeping, promoting the
By PAULA THOMPSON
BEES are the backbone of most of
Australia's food production and add an
estimated $4 billion to 6b to its agricul-
tural and horticultural industries each year.
But alarmingly, their numbers are on the
decline and consequently, threatening food
One company doing its bit to spread the
word about their importance to food sustain-
ability is CBD Bees, an urban beekeeping
company started by Linda Walker and Sandra
Ulrich in Adelaide in April last year.
They have placed beehives on rooftops and
gardens to attract bees into the city, and now
have 29 hives in total in the city, suburbs and
The CBD Bees website points to a saying
by scientist Albert Einstein: 'if the bee disap-
peared off the face of the earth, man would
only have four years left to live'.
Linda says that with 80 per cent of the food
produced relying on pollination somewhere
down the line, it is crucial to promote best
practices in beekeeping and more discussions
on the subject to ensure a greener city.
Linda says the first step for those consider-
ing beekeeping is to complete a course.
"Bees are classed as livestock, but unlike just
running a couple of chooks in your backyard,
you can't just run a few bees without being
registered with PIRSA," she said.
Linda says courses are run through the WEA,
the Beekeepers' Society of South Australia Inc
and CBD Bees.
"Training is crucial, to make sure you under-
stand the ramifications of having bees on your
property, the guidelines on beekeeping from
PIRSA and disease management," she said.
She says the fairly hardy animals are well-
adapted to any climate.
Beekeeping (or apiculture) is not a low-cost
Linda says the first thing is to buy a hive,
and the frames that go into the hives.
You also need a nucleus bee swarm. CBD
Bees offers this service, which includes a
queen bee, eggs, larvae and a small, square
hive with four to five frames.
"Once you have built up the numbers, you
can then transfer the bees to a bigger hive,"
"It is cost and time-intensive, that's why it's
always best to do a course first, so you know
what you're getting into."
For those who find the setting up costs of a
hive too high, there are other options:
• Sponsorship: Sponsor a hive or hives at
your location. The hives are fully main-
tained by CBD Bees. For a sponsorship
fee, you receive a portion of honey from
your hive, depending on honey flow.
• Adopt a hive: If you are unable to host a
hive, you can adopt a hive. You will receive
updates on your hive and a sample of
honey, depending on availability.
• Volunteer: If you want to know more about
bees and beekeeping, you can volunteer
with CBD Bees, and help them with hive
inspections and honey extraction.
"Through sponsorship or adopting a hive,
you get all the benefits of having bees, without
the liability or big expenses," Linda said.
Linda says beekeeping is growing in
"The importance of bees has been highlight-
ed by issues like Colony Collapse Disorder,
which is happening in the US," she said.
"There are significantly less bees in the
US now. And the bee pest, varroa mite, has
reached New Zealand. NZ now has no wild
colonies of bees.
"It's only a matter of time before varroa mite
gets to Australia."
These issues are highlighting the importance
of healthy, strong bee colonies.
Anyone who has been stung by a bee might,
understandably, be put off beekeeping. But
Linda says bees are not aggressive by nature.
"Bees are like any animal -- if you prod a dog
it's going to bite you, and bees are the same,"
"Most people are stung by bees by accident.
"Bees are really not interested in us, all they
want to do is leave the hive, pollinate and take
the nectar back to their queen.
"I have three hives in my backyard and my
seven-year-old grandson often sits by the hive
and watches the bees come and go."
• Need to know more?
www.cbdbees.com or www.bees.org.au
Bees are not aggressive
by nature, and sting
only if provoked.
May buzz: Australian beekeepers produce
many top varieties of honey but their vital work
often goes unnoticed. Australian Honey Bee
Industry Council chairman Ian Zadow hopes to
change that by directly engaging with the public
and helping them understand the role of the
humble honey bee in food security. The industry
has set aside May to spread the good word
about bees and beekeepers. "While some in the
public know how good honey tastes and how
good it is for you, they often don't associate the
honey bee with other foods that are on their
meal table," Mr Zadow said. "It is estimated
that one in three mouthfuls of food we eat relies
on the honey bee for pollination." The numerous
state associations will run different programs
to showcase their honey, and the work of their
industry, to the public. "Many people only think
of beekeeping as a cottage industry. They are
not aware that there are many large businesses
out there run by beekeepers, and that they often
have several employees working for them," Mr
Zadow said. "In August last year, it was esti-
mated that between 150,000 and 180,000 bee
hives were taken to pollinate almonds. For the
almond crop, if there are no bees for pollination,
there is no crop."
• Need to know more?
Equine art: The picturesque Adelaide Hills,
with small farms and popular pastimes including
hunting and dog walking, has provided inspira-
tion for the "Horse, Hound & Country Life"
Art Exhibition being organised by Horse SA.
All mediums are encouraged: artists, jewellers,
sculptures, artistic farriers and potters, to join
the Horse SA mixed medium group as part of
the SA Living Artists Festival at the Hagen Arms
Hotel, to be held during the month of August.
Entries close soon. Artists can visit www.
horsesa.asn.au for more information or contact
Helen Whittle, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 0414
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