Australian Native Bees | News & Info

Mitchelton Library with Tobias Smith

It was a fully booked workshop for the Mitchelton Library Qld Native Bee Workshop 9 March 2019. Tobias Smith (Native Bee Scientist) has been running workshops with Tim Heards Sugarbag Bee business for four years and keeps the attendees interested with his enthusiasm. Besides the main subject of Stingless Bees Toby has a great passion for Solitary Bees and covers these in the workshop also. Toby has done a lot of field work with Solitary Bees and has discovered two new species, currently on the waiting list to be officially named.

Toby also runs native bee workshops for kids and for a moment i think he slipped in to the kid teacher mode getting animated with descriptions of bee behaviour. (I like the male Carpenter Bee impression Toby)

After the slideshow the crowd ventured out in to the Library gardens where Toby talked about box designs, giving everyone a run down of design specifics and aspects of different designs.

Toby started off with splitting this stingless bee hive (Tetragonula Carbonaria). Most of the brood came out with the top section and there wasn’t much structure, honey pots or pollen in the bottom box so he decided it would be better to not split this and put it back together. Waiting another couple of months it will probably have more resources in the bottom box and the brood might separate easier with the advancing front in a more appropriate postion.

The second hive to be split was the more aggressive Tetragonula Hockingsi. Although this hive was the same age as the previous Carbonaria hive, the bees had developed the colony a lot more and the box was quite full of brood and resources. Toby noted a large collection of Cadaghi seeds inside the box. These are small red seeds that get stuck to the bees legs when they’re collecting resin from the Cadaghi tree gum nuts. The seeds can build up on the box entrance and also inside. It’s not usually a problem but while the box was open Toby removed a clump of the seeds from inside the box to create a bit more space for the brood.

Tetragonula Hockingsi species are generally more aggressive, buzzing Toby
Making sure everyone gets a close look at the brood and Queen cells
Doing the magic stingless bee dance…. or just aninated descriptions?

Toby demonstrated honey extraction on the third hive, using a small knife to pierce the honey pots, letting the box drain for a few minutes and also letting everyone sample the honey straight from the hive.

Toby realised I was taking a photo of him and made me take a second shot after he removed his head net, mentioning how Tim jokingly picks on him for his head net, hence the laughing.
(or was i not supposed to mention that? It’s too late Toby, you’re wearing it in all the other photos anyway 🙂

These workshops are a great day out, suited for beginner to advanced. More events like this can be found on the Sugbag website

Also note, Toby is looking for Tetragonula Carbonbaria oath hives to swap. He is offering oath hives of Hockingsi in exchange for your Carbonaria. He can be contacted through his website:

Hivecraft - Australian Native Bee Supplies

Native bee boxes available at

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