A Bundaberg Region coffee grower has shared footage of a swarm of Australian native bees battling it out for a hive takeover on his property.
Kadilly Coffee owner Rod Walmsley said the amazing sight was a regular occurrence at his farm in Sharon.
“Thousands of them circulate the hive either to do battle and take over an existing hive, which is called a fighting swarm, or to establish a new Queen, which is a mating swarm,” he said.
“The tell-tale sign of a fighting swarm is hundreds of dead bees on the ground.
“It is sad to see but it’s just nature taking it’s course.”
Rod said the takeover battle could go on for days and afterwards the winning bees would be rewarded with a brand new hive.
He said the Australian native bees were a great asset to his coffee-growing endeavours and helped to keep the arabica beans coming in strong.
“Coffee plants only flower once during the season and this last a very short three to four days,” he said.
“While the flowers are self-pollinating, having the bees around definitely helps to increase the yield.”
Rod forever learning with Australian native bees
With about four hives at his farm and even more at his property in town, Rod said he was forever learning from his Australian native bee population.
“Native bees look after themselves, so they don't need a lot of maintenance from me,” he said.
“Although, we had to re-box one of our native bee hives recently, simply due to deterioration/weathering of the original.
“The hive was full to the brim so a split was done, allowing two fresh new hives to be established.
“Its critical that no spilt honey is introduced into the new boxes as pests such as phorid fly can invade easily and destroy a complete hive.”
Rod said it was important that re-boxing or splits of native bees were only done by a professional.
To find out more about Kadilly Coffee, check out the Facebook page here.