Feral bees

One of my many failings is a lousy sense of direction. My inability to tell my left from my right is legendary among family and friends.  Sometimes that works out OK.

I was up at Whiteman Park last week, and I followed the Wunanga Bush Trail. The guys and girls up there do a fantastic job as all the trails are really well marked with painted bollards all along the way so you can’t get lost.

Oh, and the lovely lady at the visitor centre had fitted me out with a great map and info sheet on the the trail as well.

That didn’t stop me from getting distracted and wandering off the trail to an alternate track, not once, but twice. If you have ever been up there you will be scratching your head and wondering how the hell I managed that and that is a very fair comment. However, sometimes these accidents turn out for the best.

I’ve been reading a bit lately about the plight of the black cockatoos in WA.  My last post was on one of the creatures that take up the nesting hollows that those birds use.  One of the other competitors for these hollows are feral bees.

And, you guessed it, on my off track excursion I came across a bee hive in one of those hollows;

It was after pausing to look at these bees that it occurred to me that I couldn’t see any of the painted bollards, and that perhaps I should retrace my steps, which I did  and found my way safely back to civilisation.

I initially found it a little challenging to begrudge the bees their hollow. After all, world wide the health of our bees is critical to our overall survival and there are too many things they need to be worrying about. However, these bees happen to be an imported species, and taking up valuable real etstate, and resources, that might otherwise be available to threatened native species of bird.

So, what makes a bee ‘feral’ anyway? The term is used to describe European honey bees that have mounted an escape from their artificial hives (which makes me think of  the movie Chicken Run for some reason) and are now living on the land.  They are generally a bit agro, and don’t add much value in the pollination of plants or commercial production of honey.

We get quite a few bees in our backyard.  I have no idea if these are feral or if they belong to someone and are doing useful work. I do know I like to give them a bit of room.

In our last house we had a swarm of bees make their home in the ceiling cavity of our pantry.  It was a two story home and you could hear them humming from below and above.Very creepy.

For more information of feral bees here are some links;

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