Chasing bee swarms after the fires

Chasing bee swarms after the fires

Clive Hammet has been a bee keeper since 1968 and is passionate about his bees.
He is looking for any swarms that people may encounter at their homes or properties.
“I just collected a swarm from a residence in Lakes Entrance last week and they are going well,” he said.
Clive is situated at Swan Reach, but unfortunately during the bushfires had many of his bees out at Wairewa.
“I had just put them at a property off Wattle Range Road and they were going really well. If I had put them in another place I would still have them,” Clive said.
“Those poor bees didn’t have a chance, the fire was so hot everything just melted.
“The aluminium hive lids just melted into little ingots, everything was burnt.
“The devastated forest around Wairewa/Tostaree area will take many years to recover and become useful for apiarists again.
“The concentration of smoke was so thick in our area that I made the decision to move my other hives to South Gippsland.”
Clive has never wanted to get too big in the bee industry and likes to keep no more than 35 to 50 hives, but they are diminishing.
The only trouble keeping them out in the bush Clive had previously had was from four-wheel drivers knocking them over.
“I did have one hive that was used for target practice, it had holes all through it, I don’t know why people would want to do such a thing,” he said.
Clive belongs to a bee-keeping group and had been travelling to Orbost to mentor people who would like to keep a hive in their backyard.
“I have noticed many women are getting into bees and are pretty keen,” he said.
“You have to be prepared to maintain the hive and get stung.
“No matter how much you cover yourself they still sneak in somewhere, but after a few thousand stings you get used to them,” he said.
So if you don’t know what to do with that hive that has appeared at your house, call a bee keeper.
Clive’s details are available at the Lakes Post and Printing office.

IMAGE:
Clive is looking for swarms to collect. (PS)


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