Sustainability and Beekeeping at Macmahon

Did you know one in every three bites of the food we eat depends on bees for pollination? Whilst beekeeping is a relatively small industry; many may not understand just how vital bees are for the environment, playing a crucial role in the agricultural sector.

Despite being significant to maintain healthy ecosystems, bee populations are under threat. With habitat loss, pesticide poisoning, intensive farming practices and climate change causing a decline in bee populations globally, it’s more important than ever to protect bee colonies.

When not working as a WAC Maintenance Planner at Macmahon, Damian Wallace is a passionate part-time beekeeper. Damian is committed to relocating hives rather than exterminating them and is determined to spread the word. After spotting a swarm of bees in the WAC car park, Macmahon knew just who to call!

Excited to see half the car park full of swarming bees, Damian found the swarm flying in a large cyclone-style movement, with the bees in the centre guiding the direction.

“When on the move, they are not about speed as they only cruise at a very slow walking speed,” Damian explained.

Armed with his own custom-build vacuum, Damian managed to capture the swarm, who were temporarily rehomed in the inbuilt capture container. He even managed to successfully capture the queen, as bee behaviour dictates that any worker bees will stay wherever the queen is held.

After a week, Damian will transfer the bees to frames where they will live, store food and grow their young. Bee colonies need to be relocated more than 3kms from their last position to avoid any foraging bees from returning to the position of their last hive. Returning to this position would lead to the bee’s death, weakening the colony’s ability to self-sustain.

“This colony will go into a built hive that I have ready to go, and I have some native structures underway for future anticipated captures that I hope to rehome in bushland in a location I know will be a good start out for them,” Damian said.

While there will always be an unavoidable level of stress for the bees during the relocation process, it is undoubtedly the best way to protect these vital pollinators. Just as exterminating bees can be disastrous for our natural ecosystem, attempting to relocate bees without the help of a professional could end in tragedy for the hive.

When you spot a hive or swarm, we recommend following these three steps:

  1. At a safe distance, grab a photo of the hives general location
  2. Drop a pin in Google Maps and share where the hive or swarm is located
  3. SMS information to 0427 647 629

At Macmahon, we’re committed to minimising the impacts on flora and fauna such as beehives near our work areas and strive to protect the biodiversity around us. If you’d like to read more, see our environmental policy.

 

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