An Australian beekeeper has given an insight into the enormous challenges weather conditions can pose to bees.
Xandra Helbers – who manages a rooftop apiary in Wayville, a suburb of Adelaide – told national broadcaster ABC: “We have problems in winter, where it can get too cold and I need to help by giving them extra food, like fake pollen or sugar water.”
Helbers’ hives are located on the roof of Adelaide Showground, the region’s largest multi-purpose event centre.
She explained: “In summer, we need to keep them cool, hence the shade cloth over the top, and make sure there is water supplied for them.”
Speaking to ABC, the beekeeper revealed that a whole colony died during a heatwave around three years ago.
Helbers – who moved to Australia from the Netherlands in 1998 – was taught all about beekeeping by her father.
She started managing the Adelaide Showground apiary – which consists of 50,000 to 70,000 bees – during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reflecting on her passion, Helbers underlined: “Not everyone can have a hive in their garden. So, by businesses allowing us to have hives on the roof, it helps to keep the suburbs green for us to live in.”
As of 2019, there were 29,690 registered beekeepers in Australia, according to BeeAware, an Australian beekeeping news platform.