Beekeeping is a unique experience in animal husbandry. Bees are little, portable and independent – not like cows, goats, pigs and sheep! They produce honey just about anywhere (if they are honey bees) and help keep the world bountiful. How? Because they help produce food through pollination.
Pollination is needed for many plants to produce fruits, flowers and vegetables. Did you know that one of every three bites of food comes from plants pollinated by honeybees and other pollinators? Bees are essential to the workings of the planet – but the number of bees has decreased over recent years.
Many Australians keep bees as a hobby or to produce an income. Beekeeping is inexpensive and a great way to connect with the environment – and you get free honey!
Top 10 bee facts
- Bees cannot fly when it is too cold (temperatures under 12 degrees Celsius).
- Some bee species live in colonies and others solitary.
- Honey bees can tell the time.
- All worker bees are female.
- A honey bee produces a teaspoon of honey (about 5 grams) in her lifetime.
- The type of flower the bees take their nectar from determines honey flavours.
- Bees mate in the sky and afterwards the male bee loses his reproductive organs and dies.
- There are more than 20,000 species of bee worldwide living on every continent except Antarctica.
- Bees do not want to sting you because they die.
- Almonds, avocados and blueberries are 100% dependent on bee pollination.
Best ways to start beekeeping
- Attract bees by planting a flowering garden.
- Support a community garden if you cannot keep bees at home.
- Contact Sunshine Coast Beekeepers Inc. a not for profit organisation established in 2000 to help beekeepers based on the Sunshine Coast.
- Keep up to date with Sunshine Coast Council’s conditions for keeping bees.
Download these eBooks:
- Buzz: The nature and necessity of bees by Thor Hansen
- The secrets of bees: An insider's guide to the life of honeybees by Michael Weiler
To get started download the ePlatform by Wheelers and Libby apps. Select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and passwords. Need help setting up your device for eBooks? Watch this video tutorial.
Libraries love these bee culture eMagazines:
- PIP Permaculture
- Earth Garden
- Better Homes and Gardens
- Organic Gardener
To get started using free eMagazines download the RBDigital app, select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and password.
Get streaming bee movies with eMovies:
- Saving the Lifekeepers – sustainable beekeeping
- More than honey – the role bees play
To set up a Kanopy account to stream more films and documentaries for free. First-time customer - select Add Library Card and enter your member number and password.
Listen on the go with this Australian Beekeeping podcasts:
- Honey, I’m Home – Australia’s first podcast for beekeeping featuring interviews with bee experts, professors and doctors across all levels of beekeeping
On the web
Get beekeeping with these handy links:
- See which flora to use on the Sunshine Coast to flavour honey with this Beekeeping Flora List.
- The USC Honey Lab conducts honey tests to help determine the viability of apiary sites for medicinal honey production .
- Easy-peasy honey extraction with Flow Hives.
- Native bees live locally too – find out more about these stingless wonders.
Beekeeping innovations that will blow your mind:
- Did you know? In Oslo, Norway there is a bee highway which attracts bees to pollinate across a diverse urban space.
- Airports are hiring beekeepers to develop bee populations on unused land.
- Harvard University is building RoboBees for mechanical pollination.
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