The dreaded varroa mite arriving at Newcastle and attacking Australian bees, aligned with our July beekeeper speaker Warwick Bone.
Until a few weeks ago Australian bees had been free of this pest but suddenly it was sighted and suspected all around Newcastle.
Warwick said its impact on bees was horrific, because translated into human terms, a varroa mite on a bee, was equivalent to something the size of a rabbit attached to the back of a person’s neck, sucking blood.
He said an immediate problem, was being able to transport enough Australian bees to pollinate almond trees around Mildura for six weeks over early spring, to ensure a crop. And bees don’t like almond trees much anyway, Warwick said. Just like endlessly eating chocolate.
But he was really with us to talk about permaculture and holistic grazing which he said was all about good design. A key to that is doing what huge herds of wild grazing animals in Africa do, which is heavily graze a small area quickly, move on and not return to that area until every plant there has had a chance to regrow.
That means useful plants get as much chance to recuperate as weeds. An example he gave was 4500 acres divided into 30 acre paddocks near Holbrook, carrying 2500 head of cattle. The farmer moves all the cattle to one new paddock every day which means each paddock has 150 days to recuperate.
Our next speaker on Tuesday August 2 will be local policeman Ross Platfuss talking about farm crime.