PRESERVATION: Clermont beekeeper Ken Murray.
PRESERVATION: Clermont beekeeper Ken Murray.

Beekeeper advocates protecting bee populations

A CLERMONT beekeeper is advocating the greater protection of bees, saying that they significantly contribute to the Central Highlands ecosystem.

The owner of several colonies at ‘Bee Ranch’ south of Clermont, Ken Murray said that the health of bee populations should be considered by anybody interested in environmental sustainability.

He said their role in pollinating crops and fruits was indispensable.

“There is more of a use of pesticides and herbicides now,” Mr Murray said, “and some farmers are using products to finish off their crops so they can have a more prepared window for harvesting.

“But there’s evidence that herbicides can get into colonies and sterilise the queens.”

Removing bees from a tree near Clermont Hospital last week, Mr Murray said he preferred to move hives elsewhere rather than kill them.

“There was a hive in an old ironbark tree and it was a danger to people in the hospital grounds,” he said.

”We were able to cut the tree down in stages, cling wrap the hive, lift the whole thing in the top of a truck, and deposit it at Bee Ranch where they could re-establish themselves.

“Better to try and save them to poison them and burn them. We should only destroy what needs to be destroyed.”

Mr Murray developed a ‘bee vacuum’, which he uses when called out to remove hives. Recently he used it at Coppabella Mine, where there was a bee swarm in a pallet.

“I was called out on Sunday and was able to use my bee vacuum. I’ve modified a special dust bucket so I can vacuum the bees in safely and collect them and transfer them,” he said.

“I have a love of the little creatures, they’re so fascinating.

“They’re quite an inspiration. It’s very important that we preserve them.”


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