Ken Faulkner's love of bees won’t sting
KEN Faulkner could spend hours each day watching the hive of activity on his veranda.
Since the recreational apiarist invested in a box of native stingless bees his interest in the species has grown immensely, and now he hopes to create more of a buzz around the tiny insects.
"I've been interested in bees for a good while because I've got a fairly big garden," he said.
"I noticed there were none around last year and went to a native bee workshop. "The rest is history.
He and a group of fellow bee enthusiasts recently started a group called Clarence Native Bees, with an aim to build up local numbers of native beehives.
Doing so would help bring down the commercial price in the region and provide a back-up if anything happened to the European honey bees that are bred in abundance for both honey and crop pollination, he said.
There's good reason to be concerned for the future of the European bees; a disease called American foulbrood, which can wipe out entire hives, is an ever-present threat.
While each box of native bees currently costs about $300-400, Mr Faulkner said it was worth every cent.
His own hive has a clear Perspex top so you can see the little insects working to expand their brood.
"We've had quite a few friends and neighbours come to watch them, they're very interesting.
"I often sit there and watch what they carry in - some of them carry that much stuff you'd wonder how they'd even fly.
"You'll see them coming in with oranges and reds and whites, you name it."
Anyone who's interested in buying a box or learning more about the native bee is welcome to contact Mr Faulkner on 6643 3750.
Clarence Native Bees meets on the first Monday of the month at Suite 1/48 Prince St, Grafton.