BUSY BEE: Tim Heard gives the low down on the native bee.
BUSY BEE: Tim Heard gives the low down on the native bee.

Sweet bee buzz comes to Hervey Bay bookstore

AUSTRALIAN native bee expert Tim Heard is bringing this sweet buzz of bee knowledge to Mary Ryans this weekend promoting his best seller and multi-award winning book The Australian Native Bee Book.

Dr Heard said the bee phenomenon had become "juggernaut”, especially in comparison to when he started his work in the 1980s.

"Everyone has caught on to the movement now, and its almost overwhelming the amount of people who are keeping them - it's a juggernaut.

"Everyone knows about them now, especially compared to 30 years ago.

Dr Heard said while he has known about the imperative role they play in sustaining life on Earth, since he started working with them in 1985, he was also just besotted by their appeal.

An entomologist, ex-CSIRO research scientist, and a long term stingless bee keeper, Dr Heard said he was so besotted he has completed his university doctoral studies on using these bees for crop pollination.

He has since published 60 research papers and popular articles on bees and pollination, having transferred his first hive from a cut down tree into a wooden box in 1985.

Dr Heard said he manages hundreds of hives of three species around south east Queensland, obtained by rescuing threatened wild hives and dividing existing hives and had developed new hive designs that allow for easy propagation and sustainable extraction of honey, without harming the colony.

He added the Australian native bee was quite different to the more commonly recognised honey bee.

"Native bees are much smaller and dark in colour - they look very different,” he said

" And the architecture of their hives is much different and they travel less, up to one tenth of the honey bee, so only up to about 500m.”

Dr Heard will be at Mary Ryan's Hervey Bay, Shop 1, 414B Esplanade, Torquay, from 11am until noon on Sunday, September 3.

Mary Ryan's Cate Akaveka said they will be providing a free cuppa with each book purchased on the day, which costs $35.

Joining Dr Heard on his trip to Hervey Bay is Tobias Smith, a native bee researcher who completed his PhD at the University of Queensland.

Ecologist and native bee researcher Tobias Smith will host an Australian Native Bee Workshop at the Hervey Bay Centre, 22 Charles St, Pialba, from 9.30am.

The event will include a presentation on the bee's biology, anatomy and so on; plus practical sessions with morning tea and lunch included.

Tickets cost $70. Call Tony or Sharon on 0499027115 or 0499073116 to book.

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