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Stingless Beekeeping: 19 Oct 2013: Sydney
Stingless Beekeeping: 19 Oct 2013: Sydney
Oct 19 2013 - Oct 19 2013  9:00am - 5:00pm
Alexandria Park Community Centre - Sydney
Stingless Beekeeping


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A one-day intensive course on native beekeeping with Tim Heard: world-renowned expert in Australia's native, stingless bee species. Covering hive design, splitting, honey extraction and bonus sessions on the details of native bees and how to encourage them in your garden.

These bees make the best garden pets ever, are completely safe for everyone and provide beautiful learning opportunities for kids around pollination and the natural cycles within your garden.

Stingless bees are Australia's indigenous social bee. They are harmless and well suited to home gardens. They are effective pollinators of many garden plants. They yield small amounts of delectable honey, although note that in Sydney, honey production will be very low. They are great tools for environment education as they are inherently fascinating to children and have many interactions with plants and other insects.

The day in a nutshell - what we'll cover:

The background...

  • What are bees? Basic biology, anatomy, diversity, distribution
  • Stingless bees: social behaviour, nest architecture, life cycle and reproduction
  • Anthropology of stingless bees and humans
  • Native bees and crop pollination
  • Foraging behaviour
  • Native bee honey production and properties
  • Natural enemies, swarming, fanning

The hive...

  • Practical demonstration of hive design
  • Practical demonstration of splitting two different hives
  • Practical demonstration of extracting honey from the hive
  • Native honey tasting!

Getting set to be a stingless beekeeper...

  • Hive design and construction
  • Hive placement
  • Moving a hive
  • Planting for native pollinators

What skills and knowledge will I get out of this course?

You will leave this course with a competent working understanding of tetragonula (formerly known as trigona, now re-classified) colonies, as well as many other native bees and the role they
play in our ecosystems.

You will learn how to open and split a tetragonula hive, and how to extract honey.

You will also learn how to encourage native pollinators to your balcony, garden or farm, and which native pollinators tend to pollinate which sorts of plants.

Some resources to get you thinking:

Hive Sales: Hives are available to be pre-ordered by students from Tim Heard, this course's teacher. Tim has the capacity to bring a limited amount of hives to Sydney with him, and this is a great chance to get all set to go with a colony from Australia's pre-eminent native bee expert. Please contact Tim directly after you've booked in if you'd like to take up this option.

Where in Australia can I keep Sugarbag bees?

"The most cold tolerant Australian native social stingless bee species, carbonaria, can survive in many parts of NSW, including all coastal areas from Nowra north. However as you move inland from the coast and the moderating influence of the ocean, the climate becomes less favourable. This is especially true where you gain altitude. So Canberra and Katoomba are definitely not suitable. But an area like Picton, about 25 km from the coast and 200m ASL seems to be OK.

In cooler areas hives need to be carefully sited and managed. Feeding the bees may help them survive in marginal areas. Harvesting honey from hives in these areas may not be possible. They will not fly below 18 degrees C and they need their stored food to survive through winter. It also may never be possible to propagate your hive in these areas. Areas where you can grow bananas perennially and they bear fruit, may also be suitable to keep carbonaria." - Tim Heard

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Booking into the course

You can pay for your course below with your credit card, or get in contact with us to arrange payment by credit card over the phone, or cheque or direct deposit.

We are running two of these one day courses back-to-back... one on Saturday 19th Oct, and one on Sunday 20th Oct. See here for the other day...

We are running two of these one day courses back-to-back... one on Saturday 19th Oct, and one on Sunday 20th Oct. See here for the other day...

About the teacher:

Dr Tim Heard is an entomologist with CSIRO and also a long term stingless bee keeper and promoter of native bees. He transferred his first hive from a cut down tree into a wooden box in 1985.

Tim now keeps more than 250 hives around south east Queensland, obtained by rescuing threatened wild hives and splitting existing hives. Tim completed his PhD on using these bees for crop pollination.

He has developed new hive designs that allow for easy splitting and sustainable extraction of honey, without harming the colony.


Included in your course fee

Your course fee includes a sugarbag honey tasting, as well as post course notes and resources on native stingless bees, beekeeping, hive plans and further reading.

Your course fee also includes course notes and tea + coffee + organic fruit during the day. For lunches, we usually put in a joint order to a great little organic cafe around the corner, LoveGrub - or feel free to bring your own.

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Once you've booked into this course, we will contact you via email regarding your booking, what to bring along with you, and any further info you might need or request regarding this course.


Alexandria Park Community Centre
Alexandria Park Community Centre   -   Website
Park Road, Alexandria


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Our Sydney course venue is Alexandria Park Community Centre, set in the grounds of Alexandria Community School, on the corner of Park Road and Power Avenue. This amazing place has multiple thriving community gardens, school gardens, a bush tucker garden and outdoor classroom learning areas.

>> Venue MAP

Getting there by Train: The venue is 15 minutes walk from Redfern Station. Take the Gibbons St exit and continue south. Gibbons St will become Wyndham St, and soon you will reach Alexandria Park on your right. Cut through the park to the corner of Park Rd and Power Avenue, and there you are. Cityrail website.

Getting there by Bus: The 370 and 355 bus routes run along McEvoy St, one block from the venue. Sydney Buses website.

Parking: There is ample street parking around the school.

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Reading List

Prior to attending your course, you might like to take a look at our ever-expanding reading list,a bunch of recommended and practical texts on Permaculture, sustainable agriculture and community resilience.

None of these texts are pre-requisite for our courses, we just like to be able to provide suggestions on background reading, in case you're champing at the bit to get going.

"Create a self-sustaining environment in any situation, from the farm to the city... by planning your lifestyle to increase resources, conserve energy and reduce or eliminate pollution or waste."
Bill Mollison
Contact Us | Phone: 02 5300 4473
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