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2 May 2005
 
Bees
 
Meet a family of beekeepers.


DEBRA NOWLAND: For the past 50 years the Dewar family have been keeping bees. What started as a hobby has grown into one of the state's largest honey farms which turns over half a million dollars every year.

BEEKEEPER: Mmmmmm beautiful

DEBRA NOWLAND: But the family believes its livelihood and its way of life is at risk.

PAULA DEWAR, BEEKEEPER: We need access to forest areas in order to maintain the strength of our hives for breeding and without the access to the forest you know we just can't maintain that strength of colonies.

LAURIE DEWAR, BEEKEEPER: This is the part that we can't understand, is that the other states allow beekeeping in national parks and wilderness areas why do we have to be so pig-headed in Queensland and want to lock bees out?

ROBERT DEWAR, BEEKEEPER: I'm a third generation beekeeper and hopefully one day there'll be a fourth.

DEBRA NOWLAND: The Beattie government has given beekeepers a 2024 deadline to be out of the southeast forests because they're being gazetted national parks.

And, the honeybee isn't a native species so it isn't welcome.

The government says it's trying to come up with other ways of keeping the $13 million honey industry alive. But beekeepers are doubtful.

LAURIE DEWAR: I think we'll just have to work eight days a week instead of seven.

DEBRA NOWLAND: This family had been planning on investing $100 thousand on a new state of the art honey facility at their Mt Greville property, but instead are now considering scaling back.

LAURIE DEWAR: We won't cease to exist. It's just going to make it bloody difficult for us, more and more difficult.

PAULA DEWAR: We've been very fortunate that we have had a good honey season this year. However, if we can't utilise the traditional country that we're utilising now, it means a lot more travel and a lot less resource, so it will impact.

DEBRA NOWLAND: Beekeepers travel extensively to feed their bees good quality pollen and nectar and Laurie Dewar says most of it comes from Crown Land.

The beekeeping industry says it will continue to lobby the government to have the laws reversed.

LAURIE DEWAR: No we don't want to protest down the main street or down George street. We don't want to have truck blockades. We're not militants, no we're nature lovers, you know, we're conservationists ourselves.

ROBERT DEWAR: People often ask you, what do you do for a living and when you tell them that you're a beekeeper they go, is that your hobby? I don't know, in 20 years time I hope that I can still say no, it's my living.


story notes

 grown
 
Grown is the past participle of the irregular verb grow
 
more information: grow

 turns over
 
Here the phrasal verb turn over refers to the total amount of money the business makes.
 
Example: The business turned over $6 million a year.
 
For more meanings of this important phrasal verb, follow the link
 
more information: turn over

 pig-headed
 
To be pig-headed is to be very stubborn, to refuse to listen to other people or change your mind.
 
Example: He's so pig-headed he won't use a computer.

 third generation
 
A generation is all the people who were born at about the same time.
 
In a family, it's used to describe children, parents, and grandparents.
 
Robert is a third generation beekeeper. Robert's father Laurie is a second generation beekeeper. And Laurie's father, Robert's grandfather, must have been the first generation of beekeepers in the Dewar family.

 beekeeper
 
A beekeeper is a person who looks after bees in order to produce honey.
 

 Beattie government
 
The current leader of the Queensland Government is called Peter Beattie. So the Beattie Government is a short way of saying Peter Beattie's Queensland government.

 given
 
Given is the past participle of the irregular verb give.
 
more information: give

 deadline
 
A deadline is a time limit, a time or date by which something has to be done.

 gazetted
 
officially named

 honeybee
 
A honeybee is the domesticated bee with the scientific name Apis mellifera. Notice that honeybee is one word.
 

 native species
 
A native species is an animal, insect or plant that exists naturally in a place or country. The smaller native species of bee can be seen on the left in the picture.
 

 extensively
 
over a large area

 pollen and nectar
 
Pollen is a powder produced by flowers. Insects like bees often collect pollen and spread it from flower to flower, helping the plants to make seeds. Nectar is a sweet liquid produced by flowers.
 

 Crown Land
 
Crown Land is land owned by the government.