What do honeybees and a threatened species of marsupial have in common?
More than 450 nest boxes established by Connecting Country, a not-for-profit organisation in Mount Alexander shire.
The boxes were designed especially for the Brush-tailed Phascogale, or Tuan, which features in the threatened list of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act.
But the founder of Castlemaine Bee Sanctuary, who goes by the name of Daniel BeeShepherd, said European honeybees had colonised some of the boxes.
“This has been an ongoing problem for Connecting Country, as once the bees move in, the nest box can no longer be used by the animals it is intended for,” he said.
“Past actions to discourage bees from using these boxes have included eradication of the colonies and retro-fitting the box design.”
To take the sting out of the situation, he has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help 15 honeybee colonies.
“The bees currently living in the nest boxes will be re-homed into responsibly managed hives as part of Castlemaine Bee Sanctuary's Adopt-a-Hive program, in which beehives are placed in host gardens throughout the community,” BeeShepherd said.
“Castlemaine Bee Sanctuary will provide ongoing maintenance for the bees with a strong emphasis on swarm prevention.”
More than $600 has been donated to the online campaign, which aims to raise $6000 for hives.
Community interest in adopting a hive has been strong, BeeShepherd said.
However, he is seeking to re-home the bees in Castlemaine.
For those considering getting involved to reap the sweet reward of honey, think again.
“The bees themselves and their welfare are our main concern,” the Castlemaine Bee Sanctuary website said.
“Adopt-a-Hive is about providing a home for pollinators and getting to know the bees, not harvesting honey.”
The hives are designed to prioritise bee welfare.
The crowdfunding page is: https://chuffed.org/project/save15honeybeecolonies