Realising the vital and unique role of bees in our backyard, local residents and community groups are creating havens for these important pollinators. Pamela Bowen from Camberwell set up beehives in her front garden with the help of an apiarist, Peter Dyer of Backyard Honey.

“We decided it would be a good project to have bees in our garden,” Pamela said. “It’s a terrific way to help the environment as bees are so important to food crops. Peter inspected our garden and suggested the ideal location for the hives. He accurately predicted the flight path of the bees.”

“Peter visits regularly during the year to manage the hives and informs us about the state of the hives. It’s great to see him decked out in his beekeeper's white overalls and protective gloves and head gear with the smoker which calms the bees, while he checks the hives for honey."

“It’s even better when he arrives at our door with big tubs filled with golden honey. We then sterilise jars and fill them with the sweet, sticky honey. We use our honey in our cooking and share it with family and friends. It’s amazing how each crop of honey tastes unique because the flowers the bees visit are different each season."

“Having experienced it first hand, we are now educating our grandchildren about these fascinating insects.”

The Rotary Club of Canterbury recently founded the Rotarians for Bees project, a combined effort of Rotarians and beekeepers across the country which aims to create an environment where bees can thrive. Rotary Club of Canterbury member, John McCaskill, says bees are currently under threat and their numbers have declined at an alarming rate due to factors such as climate change, disease and loss of habitat.

“Up to two thirds of the food chain depends on bees and without them, the amount of food available to us would be significantly reduced,” John said.

Project team member, Lyndon Joss, has been a beekeeper for 10 years and has 2 hives in his own backyard.

“My neighbours have been very thankful. Their flowers and veggie gardens have flourished because of the increased pollination,” Lyndon said. “I also extract my own honey and donate it to the Hawthorn Makers Market, with proceeds going towards Rotary activities.”

Rotary Club of Canterbury is working with the local community to develop a bee highway, which is created by growing specific types of plants to generate as much pollen as possible. If you are interested in the Rotary’s bee project, please call John McCaskill on 0414 477 444.

You can help to maintain and enhance our local fauna and flora by creating a wildlife-friendly garden. For more information and resources, see Create a wildlife-friendly garden.