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Yuraal – Community Garden – Native Bee Project

The Mujaay Ganma Foundation from Gumbaynggirr Country have a great project in town at Bowraville NSW establishing the Yuraal Community Garden with green houses and areas for propagating more plants with the aim of extending the garden and selling plants in the future. Native bees are also high on the agenda with hives of native stingless bees already found in hollow trees near the property. There’s plans to increase hive numbers in the garden that will provide benefits like better pollination for the plants they produce and also supply stingless bee honey which is looking to potentially have a big future as a product.

Trudi and Steven of Little Star Bee Sanctuary have been collaborating with the Mujaay Ganma Foundation to figure out ways to increase hive numbers on the property and invited Tim Heard of Sugarbag Bees and I for a look at the project. I love projects like this and thanks to Aunty Ruth for allowing me to grab some photos of the day. It was great to meet everyone and there were quite a few laughs had through the day. Wurinda seems to have acquired the title of Bee Whisperer as she kept finding the queens when no one else could.

Photos above – There was a large tree close to the house that had to be felled and during the process Uncle Kenny found two colonies of stingless bees in the tree. The logs were quite large and still provide perfect homes for the bees so instead of transferring the colony out of the log we connected up a budding box to hopefully produce a new colony. Steven used an axe to chip away the bark to make a nice flat surface for the connection.

Photo below: Wurinda, Tim and Uncle Kenny. Tim supplied an empty box with a tube, showing Wurinda and Uncle Kenny how to set up the connections for budding.

Photo below: Connecting the empty box to the log. It didn’t take long for the bees to start using the new entrance through the box. Uncle Kenny and Wurinda will do regular progress checks to see how the new box is going. Hopefully we can get some updates over time. Later the clear tube was covered to block out any light.

Bird Box Colony Transfer

Earlier in the day Steven and Tim retrieved this Bird Box from the Missabotti Community Hall where the box had been over taken by stingless bees. Bees had been observed in the box for the past five years and looked like it was starting to fall apart so it was a great opportunity to transfer the colony in to a new box.

It took a little bit of work to gently get the box apart without causing too much damage to the colony inside. Instead of pulling the box completely apart Tim located the brood and just cut out that area out and gently transferred it to the new box. After much discussion we decided to leave the old box in tact with a little bit of brood in it and close it back up with the hope of it building up again for another transfer or possible budding later on. Steven might be able to encase the old box inside a new more secure box. There were certainly plenty of bee numbers to support two colonies and everyone had bees all over them before long.

Photos below: Jovan, Tim, Wurinda, Steven , Uncle Kenny, Trudi

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Article cover photo:

Uncle Kenny, Tim, Steven, Wurinda, Trudi, Aunty Ruth, Jovan

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