Huge swarm of bees find new home at Alstonville school
AS PART of the STEM activities occurring at St Joseph's Alstonville, the students have been learning about Living Things and their characteristics, needs and how they are important to us.
Recently native bee expert, Steve Maginnity, visited the school to share his vast knowledge about Australia's beautiful native bees.
The children were amazed by the fact that this country has over 1500 species of native bees and only 15 or so of these lives in a colony, the rest are solitary bees.
Mr Maginnity told the children that "native bees are stingless, ideally suited to pollinate our native plants and only produce very small amounts of honey, which is called sugarbag and is extremely delicious. Asian buyers pay a lot of money for this type of honey."
The Kindergarten and Stage 1 students were so motivated by their learning that they designed and constructed many suitable units for a school "Bee Hotel" to attract native bees to the playground where the sensory garden is located with many species of flowering plants, herbs and vegetables.
All was going to plan as the students were packing away their building materials when suddenly the school grounds was inundated by an enormous cloud of swarming insects.
The teachers quickly evacuated the grassed areas near the shady fig trees to then discover a roaming colony of bees was on the move.
One kindergarten student gleefully exclaimed: "They must be coming to live in our bee hotel - who told them?"
The swarm set up temporary residency in the overhanging branches directly above the adventure playground equipment but were very well behaved and not one curious onlooker was stung!
The school contacted the WIRES Lismore association and were directed to a local apiarist, who promptly arrived to cut down the swarm and transfer them to a bee box.
At no time was anyone at risk and the apiarist even performed his duty without any protective clothing on.
By the following morning the whole swarm will be safely relocated, whilst the bees sleep soundly to wake in a more suitable location.
The school wishes to thank all the workshop helpers for their assistance, and the bees for showing up at just the right time and want to warn other community minded people to be on the lookout for bees on the move because there are other reported swarms occurring in our local area.