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15 honeybee colonies will need new homes after being removed from nest boxes meant for endangered native wildlife. We’re raising funds for hives to home these bees in so they won’t be destroyed.

Over the last seven years local not-for-profit organisation Connecting Country has installed over 450 nest boxes on public and private land across the Mount Alexader Shire and surrounding areas. These boxes are specifically designed for use by the brush-tailed phascogale (a threatened marsupial that lives in the local forests). The boxes are also inhabited by sugar gliders.

Every second year the boxes are checked for inhabitants but some boxes are found to be colonised by European honeybees. This has been an ongoing problem for Connecting Country as once the bees move in, the nest box can no longer be used by the animals it is intended for. Past actions to discourage bees from using these boxes have included eradication of the colonies and retro-fitting the box design.

This year, Castlemaine Bee Sanctuary has offered to assist Connecting Country so that the bees can be saved.

I was so sad to find out that these bees were being destroyed and knew there must be a better alternative.

So this year, the bees currently living in the nest boxes will be re-homed into responsibly managed hives as part of Castlemaine Bee Sanctuary’s Adopt-a-Hive program, in which beehives are placed in host gardens throughout the community. We will then provide ongoing maintenance for the bees with a strong emphasis on swarm prevention.

However, providing hives for 16 bee colonies costs money and this is where Castlemaine Bee Sanctuary is asking for help.

We are happy to donate our time and expertise to remove the bees from the boxes but we are raising funds to purchase the hardware needed for the hives to house the bees. Each colony will need hive boxes, frames, a base and a custom built lid which comes to about $400 each.

Removing the colonies from the boxes will be no easy feat. Each box will need to be unscrewed, the bees and the fragile comb carefully extracted and secured into frames inside the new beehives. The nest box will then be cleaned reassembled and put back. It’s a process that could take half a day for each colony.

The crowdfunding campaign has been launched and we hope to reach our funding goal within a month.