The bee pictured was spotted out in the field recently. It was noticeably larger than the European honey bee and was quite loud in flight.
Pictures were sent to Dr Tobias Smith at the University of Queensland for identification. It turned out to be a peacock carpenter bee (or green carpenter), with this one being the male of the species. Females are darker green, without the yellow hairs.
What’s interesting is that this bee was foraging. In dealing primarily with European honey bees, it is easy to think that all male bees do no work.
Another month has passed and I have noticed many eucalypts in flower. This is a positive sign that winter is coming to an end. Now is the time to make sure that all your frames and boxes are ready for the spring. Often when the bees start collecting they go hell for leather and we beekeepers are left trying to keep up.
It is a bit risky to requeen at this time of year, because of low food sources. But at Sharif’s, the bees were bringing in plenty of pollen, presumably from the clover in the grass, the Billygoat weed (purple flower), Fireweed (yellow flower), and banana flowers in the background. The hives were in a nice sunny spot on top of a hill. There seemed to be no sign of winter.
Lyall led a Question Answer session where members shared beekeeping ideas, problems, solutions, myths and funny stories. It was a truly fascinating discussion, and highly beneficial to all beekeepers, whether new or experienced.
The beehives were very quiet in June because there was a poor flowering of Melaleuca quinquenervia (broad-leaved paperbark) this year. This is a short budding, high yielding – of both nectar and good quality pollen – Australian native that flowers prolifically nearly every year in the Far North Coast. This year was their off year!