HOG BAY APIARY
Ligurian bees thrive in the mild Kangaroo Island climate with ample nectar and pollen sources.
A Government queen breeding project known as the Bee Farm commenced operations by hiving 300 colonies from tree hollows and burrows in Flinders Chase National Park.
Mating hives were transported to separate areas to ensure an unrelated drone population for mating with the queen.
Wild hives exist throughout the forest areas, in caves and burrows and in walls of sheds and houses. One particular wild hive, well known to apiarists, features natural comb of 1-1/2 meters in length.
The population of Ligurian bees existing in a natural state fluctuates according to the flowering cycle of nectar sources and other factors, including bushfires.
Since bees can forage only within around 5 kilometers of their hive and cannot transport their young, there is natural attrition of hives according to seasonal conditions.
Areas where plentiful hive sites abound are then gradually re-colonized. During spring swarms issue in search of new homes. As bee diseases present on the mainland have not reached Kangaroo Island, these swarms can be, and are, collected by apiarists and incorporated into their apiaries.
To avoid bees from occupying tree hollows to the exclusion of Australian birds, particularly some rare species existing only on Kangaroo Island, the Island beekeepers are conducting a trapping program to attract and remove swarms from National Parks and other areas.
The program is expected to yield valuable data on the fluctuation in population of the naturalized Ligurian bee.
Beekeepers have also been able to advise on suitable material for artificial nest boxes which will not attract bee swarms.
If you have any questions on the sanctuary or the trapping program, please email the Secretary of K.I. Beekeepers Association (Betty McAdam) at firstname.lastname@example.org