Get a buzz on and save the bees

Not long ago we introduced you to Hayden Semmens, Broken Hill’s newest local beekeeper and hive-removalist.

This week, Mr Semmens once again talks to the Barrier Truth about the importance of his hobby, and how the community can protect the local bee population.

“Bees are so important to all of us, because a third of our fruit and vegetables and pollination is from bees, so without bees, we would have a food crisis,” Mr Semmens says.

Mr Semmens works full-time at Origin Energy delivering gas, but he has generally reserved his weekends for his hobby as, “removals can take from couple hours up to two days or maybe longer”.

Previously, he discussed his plans to establish a local bee-keeping Association, but he can now reveal his, “plans to grow and educate people and young ones to help have a younger generation of beekeepers”.

Certificate III in Beekeeping is available through Tocal College, and selected Registered Training Organisations.

“It’s for commercial beekeeping workers and owners, so there is a career in it if the young or old want to get into it,” Mr Semmens says.

Currently, Mr Semmens does not charge for hive-removals, as he will have insurance through the Amateur Beekeepers Association (ABA) “for removals as long as they are a community service, but a donation of $200 would be good.”

Notwithstanding, once the business is established, there will be a removal fee to ensure overheads can be covered.

Mr Semmens recounted an example of when a new homeowner in Adelaide discovered a hive in the back wall of the house. The vendor was asked to call an apiarist to remove the hive from the wall prior to settlement.

However, a few days later, the new homeowner discovered that the vendor called pest control and they poisoned the hive. Critically, the pest controller left the hive there and the room was then freshly painted.

About a week later, with the warmer weather approaching, the new owner noticed honey dripping out of the wall inside the back bedroom, accompanied by a rancid smell and a variety of unwanted critters.

“The bees were poisoned, so the massive amount of honey stored in there was no good,” Mr Semmens said. The honey and dead bees then had to be removed, and Mr Semmens noted the removal was “from floor to ceiling, three meters across.”

Mr Semmens tells this story to highlight that, “spraying a hive will often cause more issues and trouble, so the cost effective option is to have them professionally removed”.

“Not only is it safer and more cost effective, but bees are so important to our environment and our ecosystem. This is my hobby because I care about the bees and the environment, and because I know that if our bee population dies out, then we are in really big trouble.”

“I’m looking at expanding the removal side by buying a trailer so I can connect up to the car and drive to the job, saving a lot of time in preparation and setting up.”

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