Visitor Centre buzzing with new guests

The Ipswich Visitor Information Centre is buzzing with activity this week, as it welcomes thousands of new visitors – of the six-legged variety.

A hive containing 5,000 stingless native bees has been installed at the centre to help with pollination across Queens Park and other gardens in Ipswich.

It will also provide a visual attraction to visitors to Ipswich and be used in children’s education programs when it’s time to split the hive.

Beekeeper from A Green Soul Native Bees, Ian Driver, helped to install the bees in their new home and said he’d encourage everyone to come down to see the bees.

“Get up as close as you can and take a look,” Mr Driver said.

“These are Australian natives, so they won’t sting you, but they’re really interesting to watch as they go in and out of the hive to the garden.”

Having set up hives in boxes in Mr Driver said the bees seem to have their own personalities.

“They’re quite funny sometimes, they might crash into the hive and then zip off again.”

He said the main thing to monitor was the temperature of the hive to avoid it overheating.

“If you see the bees spreading out in lines around the hive, and flapping their wings, that means the hive is radiating too much heat, so you’ll need to cool it down a bit.”

As native bees only make tiny amounts of honey compared to honey bees, the hive won’t be used to make and sell honey.

But visitors going to see the hive will be able to buy jars of local honey from the Visitor Centre.

Ian Driver captured this photo of a perfect hive split: “The beautiful spiral is where the new brood cells are being built, and you can see a massive queen cell on the right just about to hatch.”

Read more:

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>>> In pictures: Take an exclusive look behind the scenes at Ipswich Nature Centre

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