Yass and District Beekeepers Club watch over the valley

LIVING WITH BEES: Joe and Susan Morrissey at their property that has a beehive. The couple says swarms are more prolific in warmer months. Photo: Toby Vue
LIVING WITH BEES: Joe and Susan Morrissey at their property that has a beehive. The couple says swarms are more prolific in warmer months. Photo: Toby Vue

Living in harmony with bees is the philosophy that beekeepers Joe and Susan Morrissey, who are part of the the Yass and District Beekeepers Club (YDBC), wish to pass onto Yass Valley residents.

The couple, who have been beekeepers for eight years, said that was necessary because we rely on bees for our food.

“Bees are responsible for pollinating about half our fruit and vegetables,” Mr Morrissey said.

Mr Morrissey, who is president of the club, advised residents to ensure their gardens were as bee-friendly as possible all year round, especially during the warmer seasons.

“Swarms are more prominent during late spring and summer because the queen starts laying prolifically. So there are more bees in the hives, so the queen will take off with one-third to half of the hive just to make room,” he said.

“When they swarm, if they land on a branch or bush, they’re actually very docile and not to be scared of. The best thing to do is to contact a swarm collector.

“Don’t be scared, don’t poke them or hit them,” he said.

While the YDBC, which is one of 20 clubs affiliated with the Amateur Beekeepers Association NSW, has been in operations for only 18 months, Mr Morrissey said they want to let residents know that help is available.

Bees are responsible for pollinating about half our fruit and vegetables.

Joe Morrissey, president of Yass and District Beekeepers Club

“We want to encourage people to let us know about swarms so that they can be taken into a new hive and be productive again and out of people’s way.

“We’ll be happy to take them away at no charge,” he said.

Ms Morrissey is one of the swarm collectors at the club and said that there were fewer swarms in 2016 compared with 2017.

“We collected a swarm at Classic Yass. We were at the event and I got a call – there was a swarm in a low-lying branch of a tree between the Anglican Church and the billy cart derby track.

“We took the ute up there, stood on the tray and collected the swarm,” Ms Morrissey said.

Asked about what residents should do in the event of a sting, she said regular treatment products should help.  “For most of us, a sting will just swell up and be uncomfortable. Anything more serious, you’ll need to see a doctor,” Ms Morrissey said.

She also said she once used a beauty treatment.

“One time I was stung on an eyelid and used the cucumber treatment. It worked a treat, I was so surprised,” Ms Morrissey said.

To call Susan Morrissey to collect swarm, you can contact her on 0402 915 546.

The YDBC has about 30 members from Yass Valley, Batlow, Boorowa, Murrumbateman and Canberra. They hold regular meetings and can be contacted at yass@beekeepers.asn.au.