In July 2022 I wrote a short article titled “Tough Year For The Bees“.
Quote “With extended heavy rain and cold periods, native bees have had it pretty rough for the last year. Foraging times have been short and food resources low. It’s likely there will be quite a few colony loses”July 2022
We all thought it was going to get better and colonies would be thriving this year. Unfortunately it hasn’t turned out so well. It’s since been very dry and appears to be low resources for bees again this year.
T.hockingsi don’t naturally occur in the Brisbane area, though they were going well over recent years while the weather was good, but while doing so poorly during last years extended cold and rain periods, and then this years dry, are we seeing why they weren’t natural to the Brisbane area possibly reinforces the theory of not moving species out of their natural range. The risk seems higher in poor weather conditions.
Not many people or sellers like to admit colony losses though there have been quite a few reports of hockingsi colonies doing poorly at the moment and Phorid flies taking advantage of weak colonies, destroying what’s left. Phorid fly lay lots of little white eggs everywhere inside the colony. The fly itself is half the size of a bee and very fast so the bees can’t catch them.
T.carbonaria may cope a lot better as they’re naturally occurring in the Brisbane area.
We may see another year of limited colony availability from sellers as they take a more cautious approach with colony losses and/or less splitting.
A big tip for new buyers is to be cautious buying recent rescues or splits and at least make sure there’s a guarantee on the colony.