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Aussie Bee

AUSSIE  BEE UPDATE

Number 13 / September 2006
Aussie Bee http://www.aussiebee.com.au

Promoting the Enjoyment and Preservation of Australian Native Bees
Topics in this Issue:

1. HUGE NATIVE BEE WORKSHOP IN SYDNEY
2. STINGLESS BEE SWARM SAMPLES NEEDED
3. BUMBLEBEE ISSUE UPDATE
4. BLUE BANDED BEE RESULTS FROM ADELAIDE RESEARCHERS
5. AUSTRALIAN INSECT FARM COPS CYCLONE LARRY
6. UPCOMING NATIVE BEE EVENTS


1. HUGE NATIVE BEE WORKSHOP IN SYDNEY

The biggest native bee workshop ever will be hosted by the University of Western Sydney - Hawkesbury on the 14-15 October 2006! Seminars and practical sessions on a wide range of native bee topics will be presented by leading native bee specialists from across Australia.
Topics will include:
-- Beauty and Diversity of Native Bees
-- Identifying and Encouraging Native Bees in your Garden
-- The Secret Lives of Carpenter Bees
-- Rescuing Native Bees and Restoring Bee Habitat
-- Stingless Beekeeping
-- Boxing and Splitting Stingless Bee Hives
-- Crop Pollination with Native Bees
-- Blue Banded Bees for Greenhouse Tomatoes
The workshop will be presented by Dr Michael Batley, Dr Anne Dollin, Mark Greco, Megan Halcroft, Dr Katja Hogendoorn (SA), Martyn Robinson, Dr Tish Silberbauer and Russell Zabel (QLD).
For more details on this exciting event, please visit:
http://www.aussiebee.com.au/seminars.html

2. STINGLESS BEE FIGHTING SWARM SAMPLES NEEDED

Ros Gloag of the University of Sydney is beginning a special study on the puzzling fighting swarms of stingless bees. Fighting swarms can lead to the loss of hundreds of bees as they wrestle each other to the death. These swarms can be a problem for beekeepers developing crop pollination services using stingless bees.
Ros plans to use DNA techniques to help discover what causes these swarms. Are the bees in the swarm all from the same nest or are invading bees causing the trouble?
Ros needs samples of bees involved in fighting swarms to help her  study. Can you help her?
If you see a fighting swarm, could you please take a sample by:
-- collecting dead bees from the ground in the aftermath; or
-- sweeping a net or plastic bag through the active swarm.
At least 20 bees are needed. Immediately place the bees in a labelled snap-lock bag in your freezer.
Could you please also collect about 10 bees from each of the colonies near the swarm and freeze these in separate labelled bags -- these bees are needed for DNA comparison. Then contact Ros and she will collect the samples from you.
Please help us understand this mysterious swarming behaviour!
Contact details for Ros Gloag:
University office: 02 9351 4487
Mobile: 0410 388 835
Email: rglo3079@mail.usyd.edu.au

3. BUMBLEBEE ISSUE UPDATE

Warm thanks to the many supporters who sent in their comments about  the proposal by the Australian Hydroponic and Greenhouse Association (AHGA) to import European bumblebees to the Australian mainland! Clearly there is widespread concern about the harm European bumblebees could cause to our bushland, farms and gardens. Every email and letter made a difference!
Many scientists also made in-depth submissions about the proposal, including a 49 page critique compiled by Aussie Bee about the AHGA  Report.
The AHGA is now required by the Department of the Environment and Heritage to consider all submissions and modify their report accordingly. Then the report will be forwarded to the Minister for his decision. We will bring you news of the outcome as soon as it is released.
If you would still like to have your say on this issue, it is not too late. Comments can be sent directly to the Minister at any time. For more details, please visit: 
http://www.aussiebee.com.au/bumblebees-8may06.html

4. BLUE BANDED BEE RESULTS FROM ADELAIDE RESEARCHERS

Dr Katja Hogendoorn's team at the University of Adelaide is just 
concluding a successful three year research program on the breeding and use of blue banded bees for greenhouse crop pollination. They recently published their research showing that native blue banded bees can produce a 20-24% increase in the yield of greenhouse tomatoes. This result shows that blue banded bees are as efficient as European bumblebees for greenhouse tomato pollination.
Read our new Aussie Bee Online article to find out all about the 
Adelaide researchers' pollination results! To download your copy of this new Aussie Bee Online article, please visit:
http://www.aussiebee.com.au/abol-current.html
We were disappointed to read the highly misleading lead article by 
Steven Carruthers, in the July/August 2006 issue of Practical 
Hydroponics and Greenhouses magazine, entitled 'Blue-Banded Bees Past the First Hurdle'. This article discusses Melissa Bell's 2002 pilot study on blue banded bee pollination and implies that Melissa's study is the full extent of the blue banded bee research in Australia. It completely ignores the comprehensive three year research program on blue banded bees conducted by the Adelaide team with five tomato industry partners from 2003 to 2006.

5. CYCLONE LARRY BLASTS AUSTRALIAN INSECT FARM

On 20th March 2006, the Australian Insect Farm at Innisfail in Far 
North Queensland was in the direct path of Cyclone Larry.
This unique ecological farm, run by naturalists Jack, Sue and Paul 
Hasenpusch, breeds stick insects, beetles, butterflies and many other insects. The Hasenpuschs are dedicated insect researchers, 
discovering many new species and genera. They also run education programs about our Australian insects in their rainforest environment.
Sadly the cyclone, with wind gusts up to 294 kph, devastated 95% of the rainforest canopy around the Australian Insect Farm, wrecked all four of the Farm's insect greenhouses and destroyed outdoor research materials and other infrastructure. The family faces a rebuilding cost of $30,000.
Read Sue Hasenpusch's graphic day-by-day account of the impact and aftermath of Cyclone Larry at: 
http://www.insectfarm.com.au/aug2006main.htm
The Australian Insect Farm makes valuable contributions to insect 
research in Australia, including the work of Aussie Bee. The 
Hasenpusch family, with amazing resilience and a hearty dash of good Aussie humour, is striving to rebuild their devastated eco-farm. If you can help them, please write to: Australian Insect Farm, PO Box 26, Innisfail Qld 4860.

6. UPCOMING NATIVE BEE EVENTS

QUEENSLAND
Workshops on Stingless Beekeeping
by Dr Tim Heard:
Sunday 5 November 2006
Brisbane Forest Park
60 Mt Nebo Rd, The Gap, Brisbane
Call (07) 3300 4855 or email brisbaneforestpark@epa.qld.gov.au
(They will email you when it's time to register.)
Saturday 3 February 2007
Pine Rivers Shire
For more information and bookings, call (07) 3480 6529
NEW SOUTH WALES
Native Bees for Fun and Profit
Two Day Workshop
14-15 October 2006
University of Western Sydney
Richmond
For more details see Item 1 in this Email Update
Bye for now.
Kind regards
Anne Dollin
Editor, Aussie Bee Online
To subscribe, send an email to anbrc@zeta.org.au with Subscribe in the subject line
or fax us at: (02) 4576 1196
or write to: ANBRC, PO Box 74, North Richmond NSW 2754
Copyright (C) 2006 Australian Native Bee Research Centre. All Rights Reserved.
Australian Native Bee Research Centre / Aussie Bee
PO Box 74, North Richmond NSW 2754, Australia
Fax: (02) 4576 1196. Email: anbrc@zeta.org.au
Promoting the Preservation and Enjoyment of Australian Native Bees
Visit our Website! http://www.aussiebee.com.au

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