Bob Lutrell (Bob the Beeman) has had some experimental honey supers on my SNB (stingless native bee) hive for some time - over a year. Bob makes the honey supers on his 3D printer based on a great deal of research and trial and error on his part.
Initial checks indicated that the supers were very welcome by my bees and they were filling them with honey. Fate stepped in at this point and Bob had some heath issues requiring surgery so the supers sat quietly waiting for the moment when he could come back and open the hive.
The moons aligned on the 23rd and we were able to get Bob to my place to do the hive split, check the honey supers and try out Bob's new invention of a centrifugal honey collector to go with the new supers.
Andy came along as official video-er and a photographer turned up from Quest papers to take photos for an article. Andy will scan the article and post on BLF when the time comes. The video will also become available on this site once it has been edited and passed inspection with Bob.
This was a very exciting workshop due to the experimental nature of the equipment used and all the time and effort put into the design by Bob, coming to fruition. Thank you to all those who turned up yesterday to learn from and enjoy the experience. It was a great morning!
Of great interest to Bob and myself is that he has suspicions that my bees are in fact a hybrid variety . Some of you may remember these bees invaded my own Tetragonula carbonaria hive some time back and killed all the resident bees before setting up home in my box happily since. I had thought they were the same variety. The only way to tell for sure is DNA testing which I have hopes will be organised some time soon.
Big thank you to Andy for his skills with the camera and video. Photos below are a mix of Andy's and mine.
An example of Bob's hive showing the new honey super produced on his 3D printer:
Hive split - the hive structure is not what is expected from Tetragonula carbonaria which leads Bob to think my bees may be hybrid. The comb should look like a spiral if my bees are T carbonaria LIKE THIS. It's possible I have a hybrid with T hockingsi the comb of which looks LIKE THIS.
Here's story you might find interesting about wars between the two species ARTICLE.
Pretty much what happened with my own hive back in 2013. I had a good photo record of the whole war but suspect the pics are stuck on my old computer. Here's one pic I was able to find on BLF. The invaders took a few days to kill all my bees, throwing the bodies out the front door.
Honey super from my hive:
Bob is inserting the honey super into the centrifugal collector before giving it a good spin by hand a few times. He extracted 100ml more from the machine on his return home. At $200kg we don't want to waste any!
Hopefully everyone went home with some new knowledge or at least a desire to own and learn more about our native stingless bees. Such sweet little beasts to have helping in the garden and no trouble at all to look after.
Bob is working on building some hives for sale. Contact him on his website Bob the Beeman if interested.
I endeavored to gauge interest in another visit to Bob's property out Samford way where he has 100's of hives many in different designs. Let me know if you are interested in attending and I will try to pin Bob down for a date.
6 DAYS LATER - ACTIVITY IN THE HIVES
The bees have settled down quickly since the split and are hard at work in both the new hives. The hive with the empty box added is the most impressive with newly created comb. Bit hard to get a good shot through the perspex without too much reflection but I managed to get a couple of half decent ones by hiding under a doona.
Fabulous! Mighty guy Bob, don't know where he gets his energy from. Looking forward to the video and article.
May indeed have something unique :) (excitement!) but Bob has suspicions this has happened before. What shall we call our new bees.....Tetragonula bobsii.
How absolutely fascinating!! I so regret I have never been able to make it to a visit yet! Always hopeful! Maybe I will win lotto soon and retire early! Meanwhile I'll look forward to seeing the video. Thanks for sharing Lissa.
Hopefully one day Julie. We can all live surreptitiously through the photos and videos :)
My pleasure Steve :) Glad you enjoyed it. No good keeping this sort of stuff for one persons enlightenment. It needs to be shared.
It was fascinating looking at the native bees. I will have to see about getting some myself.
No worries Stephen :) It was good that you could come and bring your lad with you. Getting all generations involved is important.
Here's the video part 1: collecting the honey from a radical new frame. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNweagTbN1U
Marvellous :D Thank you Andy.