Some 32 buses pulled out of the Melbourne Convention Centre this morning with eager beekeepers on what were billed as “technical tours.” This featured a visit to a fairgrounds facility some two hours to the northeast near the Bendigo area. It was a fairly cold, windy day with intermittent light rain, but a good time was had by all. The fairgrounds featured a typical Australian barbecue and displays of old farm engines that have been restored, wood chopping and perhaps the most intriguing, snakebusters featuring not only many species of boas that hung around beekeepers necks, but also some of the most poisonous snakes in the world, were handled with relative ease because they had been brought up in captivity. In addition, we saw some intriguing blue tongued skinks and large green hylae tree frogs http://www.snakebusters.net.
Also at the fairgrounds was a open-hive demonstration with the obligatory discussion about the “box” and “gum” trees that are the primary nectar sources in the country. In addition, there was hand a gaggle of bee trucks of every shape and size. One featured a tow-along honey house with hoses running directly into the 1,000 liter tanks on the truck bed of the towing vehicle. A visit to various honey houses and apiaries were deftly choreographed by the organizers so that no single place was overrun with eager beekeepers. The place I went to featured box dipping and old honey extracting facility and the chance to see not one, but two specimens of Australia’s night jar, the tawny frogmouth. This visit provided a great end to the Congress “Down Under.”