Melissa Ballantyne from Sydney Stingless Bees visited the College recently and split a full hive of native bees in order to create two new hives for us. These new hives are now currently in position within the Sustainability Precinct and are doing well. Each full hive contains approximately 10,000 native bees and the bees produce about 1kg of honey each year - a relatively small amount when compared to its introduced European counterparts. Honey from native bees is an expensive delicacy and is certainly not something you'd lather on your morning toast or crumpets.
Students who were able to come along to watch the process of splitting the hive were treated to not only a very unique experience accompanied by a wealth of information about native bees and how they go about their day-to-day, but they were also able to sample honey straight from the pots within the hive. It doesn't get fresher than this. It was something that will no doubt stay with these students long after they leave the College, and I urge students to make the time to watch it play out again next year.
At the start of Spring each year now, Mr Crank and Mr Murnane will need to split hives again, converting each single hive into two new ones. They will firstly under the tutelage of Melissa, then on their own, as the official STMC Apiarists. The Sustainability Precinct is certainly benefitting from having native bees living amid the fruit trees and other flowering plants. We're doing our little bit in being stewards of the planet, specifically in promoting the proliferation of Australia's threatened native bee populations.