Biodiversity on Every Level
Through his understanding of how important biodiversity is in agriculture, Steve became aware of the significance of bees and he came to admire them. Steve built his own hives using a similar template to the ‘Warre’ hive. Steve’s thinking is to keep the hive construction as close to nature as possible so that the bees are free to truly express themselves.
Steve has stocked his hives through rescuing swarms. He developed a relationship with a local pest controller who would call him when a household required a swarm removed. Steve would arrive at the address with an empty wine box and some smoke, collect the bees and rehome them in one of his hives. Some of you may have enjoyed the sweet honey collected off our property whilst visiting our winery.
Vines are self-pollinators. Therefore bees are not essential to growing grapes. However we still need them to pollinate our cover crops and the surrounding native bush. Flowers that produce pollen and nectar attract beneficial predator wasps that help keep light brown apple moth at bay. Too many larvae from these little creatures produce less quality grapes, by damaging the stalks and creating nests between berries that invites disease such as botrytis.
Bees also pollinate the surrounding bush of which we have at least 100 ha. This bush-belt is home to many introduced and native birds amongst other native animals that use our vineyard as their Larder keeping insects in balance and bringing the life force with them.
We can recommend the ‘Honeybee Democracy’ by Thomas D. Seeley for further reading about Bees; this book is a true gift to humanity here is a tiny extract.
“….. He discovered that when a bee performs a waggle run inside a dark hive, she produces a miniaturized re-enactment of her recent flight outside the hive over sunlit countryside, and in this way indicates the location of the rich food source she has just visited….”