Sweet time at Swan Valley Honey Festival

Honey bee numbers are declining around the world.        Picture: Ruedi Wittwer
Honey bee numbers are declining around the world.        Picture: Ruedi Wittwer

THE Swan Valley Honey Festival is the place “to bee” this Sunday.

The free family event, which is now in its fifth year, will kick off National Honey Month.

The event is partly organised by UWA’s Centre of Integrative Bee Research (CIBER).

CIBER outreach officer Dr Barbara Baer-Imhoof said every third spoonful of food people ate was produced with the help of a honey bee.

“They are the fourth most important farm animal in the world,” she said.

“They come in only behind cattle, used for milk, and pigs and poultry, which are used for meat.”

Despite bee labour valued at $6 billion alone in Australia, Dr Baer-Imhoof warned their numbers were dropping.

“Bees are in a steep decline worldwide,” she said.

“We want to increase public awareness about the situation of the local bee-keeping industry and the environmental threats endangering our honey bees.”

CIBER scientists, including director Professor Boris Baer, will show the public ‘Her Majesty’, a queen who is mother to 70,000 bees. Visitors can ask all about the team’s research and the CIBER exhibition will be on display.

The Aboriginal dance group Wadumbah will be back by popular demand, as well as the Scitech team with its stall full of craft activities.

Chef Dale Sniffen will judge a honey-cake bake-off and there will be activities for children, including a bee quiz trail and pollination game, as well as songs by Nick Stockwell.

Local bee-keepers will be available for a chat. People can watch them load hives on to trucks, learn how to build a bee box or just relax and browse the various stalls.

The Honey Festival will be at the House of Honey, 867 Great Northern Highway, Herne Hill, from 10am to 4pm. There will be refreshments for sale, or bring a picnic.