Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Big thank you to Bob and Barbara for making us so welcome at their home for a truly wonderful morning of viewing and learning about native stingless and native solitary bees at their property at Highvale, just outside Samford.

Below: Bob chatting with Craig (holding cutey Piper), Glenyth and Dan.....

...and here's what they are pointing at. A couple of the 150 odd hives Bob has on his 1 acre property at Highvale.

Bob opened up another of his hives to show everyone the seperators he now uses for easy viewing....

...lifting the seperator to show inside the hive.

Below is one of Bob's Resin bee (solitary) nesting sites (also known as an Insect Hotel). He has little seperators between each layer for viewing and also for ease of cleaning when the current lot hatch and move out.

Below Craig and his little one Piper.

Believe it or not, Bob uses this mini vacuum to remove bees from himself and other unsafe areas (for the bees) before emptying them back out safe and sound to return to their hive.

Below: Bob and his homemade Blue Banded Bee nesting site. This is made using some sandy material - sorry, missed the technical name.

Time to stop for some refreshment..Dianne and Kristina having a chat over a cuppa and Phil discussing the produce brought along with Susanne....

...and Valerie.

Craig and Wendy had plenty in common including small children.

That clever cook Craig brought along Beetroot Gelato made with real egg custard, sugar and home grown beetroot....

Back to business. Bob decks out in his bee protection suit. He tells us he has to make a visit to the doctor to remove bees if he forgets to wear his hearing aids! These bees don't sting but he swears they pull his hair.

Bob opened this water meter box he removed with a hive intact. This is quite common apparently. Elliot found it all very interesting.

Below: Inside the meter box.

Below: Bob prepares to split a hive watched by Susanne, Wendy, Glenyth, Barbara, Valerie and Elliot...Rhys is checking out the new hive parts on the right.

Below: The new hive boxes complete with Bob's seperators.

Bob works at splitting the Tetragonula Carbonaria hive box, not an easy job...

...hive open...

...the brood and pollen storage. Bob cannot find the honey storage but this particular box has a hollow area around the rim so it's possible the bees have used this for honey....

Below: New top on the right hand box....

...and the old top flipped over onto the new bottom..

...all finished. Two hives out of one. Bob does stress that this is not the normal time of year to do this job coming into the cold. He artificially feeds his bees as he has so many in a relatively small space so will make sure these bees get all the feed they need to create strong new hives.

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Great pictures. I definitely want to get some bees after today!

Excellent photos Lissa, thank you ... looks like all the native bee enthusiasts had a great time and learned a lot.

Sorry I missed it.  It was my only day off this weekend - cheese to make, things to do... 

Thanks Lissa for arranging the day and double thanks to Bob and Barbera for welcoming us into your garden and home and sharing your experience.

Barbera, the Davidson plum jelly is delicious.

It was an excellent day, so much 'hands on' native bee information, on the side there was a lot of lovely food to try. I have to add that the beetroot gelato was a delicious taste sensation. To swap we had a variety of marmalades, to grow there were herbs, water chestnuts and chokos.
A few people asked for the Beetroot Gelato recipe. I don't have anything exact but you need to start with what they call a gelato di crema. It's 5 yolks and 115g castor sugar whisked until thick and creamy. To that you add 600ml of cream which will have been brought to boiling point and slightly cooled. Mix well then transfer to a saucepan. Cook on a low heat stirring regularly until it just coats the back of a spoon. If you overcook the final product will have a grainy texture which is undesirable. Put straight into water bath to cool when done.

Once it's cool you can put whatever you like into the crema di gelato. Things like basil, tarragon or mint which I have used before can just be infused in the cream which is tasty. Puréed fruits or whatever you like can go in at this stage. For the Beetroot I roasted it in foil in the oven, peeled and put through a juicer. About 300ml sounds about right but this is something you just have to taste to get the balance right. I've also seen Peas used on River Cottage so the options are endless.

You then need to churn in an ice cream maker. You can buy cuisine art ones for about $75 bucks which work really well.
If you don't have an ice cream maker add some gelatine leaves when it's still warm and put into ramekins. Set in fridge and sprinkle with sugar. Blowtorch or use top element in oven for creme brûlée!

Great pics Lissa. It looked like a great day. Pity I couldn't make it. Next time though.

Thanks Kathryn. I will try to do another visit to Bob's next year depending on his agreeing. He almost cancelled at the last minute on this one due to the weather.


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