Why are the bees here?
If you are reading this then you are probably wondering why there is a large group of bee hives in the middle of a State Park or on a Farm nearby?
Bees need multiple sources of both honey and pollen. Honey is the energy (sugar) for the bee and the pollen its protein (steak). When we place our bees on orchards for pollination of food crops the bees generally collect only pollen and often of a low quality and no nectar. Thus the colony does not reproduce well and after a few weeks population numbers fall and disease occurs. It would be like humans attempting to live on very poor quality meat with no carbs. So after few weeks beekeepers must shift their bees out of the orchards to a forested area that is in flower to boast the colony population strength. In the forest, as opposed to a farmed crop, there are many different types of flowering trees and plants for the bees to forage both honey and high quality pollen. This allows the bees population to recover and thus be taken again to pollinate Qld’s various crops.
For example as written in DERMS material since 1941, commercial beekeeping has been undertaken in the Moggill and Brisbane National Parks. Designated apiarist sites (Usual seen as a clearling with a post and number tag on it) allow bees to access valuable nectar from a rich variety of native flowers, including spotted gum, grey ironbark, narrow-leafed ironbark and blue gum. This allows the bees too build up numbers and strength to go on and pollinate many human food sources such as watermelons, rock melons, apples, citrus, avocados, macadamia nuts, sunflowers and almonds.
Local Golden Ark Honey apiarist, Len Arkadieff, reflects:
The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service values the custodial role apiarists play in protecting the park.
BUT WHY HERE: Not all trees in all areas flower and yield honey. In Australia, trees and plants flower at all different times of year and under different circumstances. We move from area to area rarely returning to the same place year after year because different trees, in different areas, with different soil types and different rain patterns yield honey and pollen maybe once every 3 to ten years and only for 8 to 16 weeks. Thus we need a wide area of resource to ensure we can find plants yielding to keep bees alive. Drought makes this even more difficult. Hence beekeepers must have a very keen understanding of the bush and what it does when.
So at anyone time only certain areas of the state are any good for beekeeping.. Some areas with poor soil and little vegetation or low yielding vegetation are no good at all. In Qld the best honey and pollen producing area is basically in a 750km radius from Brisbane outside that you have areas around Quilpie and Cunnamulla on the channels where trees bud and flower after flood. So quality of country and financial viability is limited to a main area. With in that 750km area there are many towns and cities (who do not like large loads of bees in them), many small land holdings, landowners who do not want bees, landholders who sell, areas which are mono culture and sprayed, areas with no viable sources of nectar and pollen at certain times or ever, areas that are sometimes too dry or too wet and have no access for vehicles. Thus the only real viable areas for us and the bees that we can rely on and be sure they will be there year after year are the National Parks, State forest and private land where the owner and conditions permit. If the bees are in your area chances are it just that the area is currently at its best. See can you help?