Bee kill on the agenda

Mount Alexander Shire Council’s use of chemicals to kill a swarm of bees at Castlemaine’s botanical gardens will be discussed at tonight’s council meeting.
The council in November received a petition containing 17 signatures from people concerned about its use of chemicals to kill the bees at the gardens on October 19 last year.
The petition called on the council to explain why this occurred and suggested other courses of action that did not involve killing the valuable pollinator insects.
A report to go before councillors at this evening’s meeting states that the “council is acutely aware of the worldwide decline of bee and other insect populations and the importance of maintaining and increasing their numbers”.
It also states that the decision to engage pest control services was “not taken lightly”.
“The bee swarm formed on a Friday and due to the swarm’s prominent location, it was closely monitored by botanical gardens staff over the course of the day,” a report to the council states.
“Its presence was identified with safety cones and staff were concerned that the community could be at risk of injury over the coming weekend. Of particular concern was a scheduled Castlemaine Parkrun on Saturday morning”.
This evening councillors will be tasked with voting on a recommendation including that council seeks the services of local beekeepers to capture and relocate future bee swarms, and also that it continues to assess all available options for insect control in areas of public open space.
This evening’s 6.30pm meeting in the civic centre is the first ordinary monthly council scheduled for 2020 and is open to the public.

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