Alex Derrick – ANBA Meeting

Kupae (Max Dillon) – Kombumerri Bees

Kupae (Max Dillon) from Kombumerri Bees on the Gold Coast opened the meeting with a few stories about his people and culture. His Grandmothers people were from North Stradbroke Island and talked about their traditional ways where native bees could be utilised for tools and medicine, propolis could also be used for Didgeridoo mouth pieces. Kupae sang a song for the club and also played his Didgeridoo, video below…

Alex Derrick – Spicers Hollow Native Bees

Alex Derrick from Spicers Hollow Native Bees was the speaker at this months meeting and talked about how he became interested in native bees and the products he now makes for the industry.

Alex and his wife Sam have a property near Spicers Gap – Queensland where they first noticed native bees and had a few friends that had Stingless Bees. Originally being gifted a rough timber box Alex’s connected the box up to a colony that was in a wall to start his first Budding / Eduction.

Not quite happy with the quality of the original box he received he investigated box designs and started building his own boxes using Hebel – a lightweight aerated concrete. There’s been a gradual evolution in Alex’s box designs as he found the design of his original vertical split boxes to be heavy and difficult to produce an exact copy so there could be a fraction of a millimetre variance over time that he felt was unacceptable.

Inner foam wall

Alex is now making a new design he calls the Lightweight Box using 15mm foam board as an outer shell and a 60mm foam board for the inner walls. He uses a home made hot wire cutter that makes the cutting of the board very simple and can stay consistent.

His main aim by using the foam board and thickness is to create the best possible insulation for the bee colony.

Hebel box left / New lightweight box right with the slim honey frames displayed on top

Some basic specs for the box: 16mm entrance hole with a 100mm length of garden hose which creates a great defendable entrance tube. The rear vent is 16mm, the same size as the front entrance. There’s a grate on the floor that raises the brood and allows bees to access underneath. Alex is using slim frame honey supers on top which are made from food grade cutting boards that have a 0.7 litre volume each frame. A few can be stacked up on top of each other and a large lid or shroud is placed over the top so there’s no need for tape on gaps.

Steel stands and brackets

Alex has 18 boxes stocked with bees trialing this design and expects the materials to last many years.

Alex also makes all kinds of accessories for the native bee industry like stands and cages and can be contacted through his website at http://www.ringtailcarpentry.com.au or on his facebook page Spicers Hollow Native Bees.

Below: Dean Haley, Sarah from Bee Yourself (hobbled along to the meeting on crutches) and Max Dillon.

Dean / Sarah / Max