Beekeepers on knees

Beekeeper Athol Craig formed Valley Bees in response to diminishing bee populations in the region, with an average of 40 members at each meeting.
Beekeeper Athol Craig formed Valley Bees in response to diminishing bee populations in the region, with an average of 40 members at each meeting. Renee Pilcher

AS ALBERT Einstein approached his death in 1955, he predicted that once bees had left the Earth, man would have just four years left on the planet.

The disturbing thing about this statement, made more than 50 years ago, is that over the past few years bee populations around the world have declined dramatically.

Local beekeeper and educator Athol Craig couldn't agree more.

He formed the action group Valley Bees this time last year in response to diminishing bee populations in this region.

An average crowd at these meetings is 40 people.

"People are realising that bees are disappearing," Mr Craig told The Gympie Times.

"The purpose of the group is to work towards providing a habitat for bees.

"We concentrate on pollinating crops and gardens and are trying to encourage people with properties to have bee hives."

Glenbo Craig inherited his passion for bees from his father and last year witnessed the strangest swarming season both men had ever seen.

When a colony prepares to swarm, it has reached a stage in its development when it can divide into two.

"A new virgin queen emerges and up to half of the colony's inhabitants leave their home in search of new quarters.

"What's been happening is they've been swarming again and again until the hive is depleted," he said.

"We don't really understand it but it could be a reflection of our lifestyles. Nature changes along with human behaviour."

For more information on Valley Bees and how to help, contact Mr Craig by phoning 5482 3637.



  • Bee propolis is a resinous substance bees collect from tree buds. It contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which are thought to be the active ingredients.
  • Not only does the propolis give stability to the hives, but it acts as a protection from bacteria and diseases as well as parasites.
  • The interesting thing about bee propolis is that its many medicinal benefits have only recently been discovered by scientists.
  • Going back in history this was a common substance known to the ancient Romans and Greeks as well as the Egyptians. Its most common medicinal purpose at that time was in the use of throat and mouth infections.
  • Many countries are taking an interest in propolis. The major areas of interest are its benefit to intestinal and dermatological problems, as well as dental uses.
  • Preliminary studies suggest propolis may be active against bacteria, viruses and other micro-organisms when applied topically.
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