Simon Mulvany is passionate, insightful and on a quest to save the declining bee population. He is also my cousin. Having spent many childhood summers together on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, I have witnessed his love of nature and the world around us. He is a wealth of knowledge from topics such as gardening and fishing- to saving the bees. His passion is infectious and his motivation totally self-less- it is purely to educate people on the importance of our bees. He has founded SAVE THE BEES AUSTRALIA and Beethecure.com.au in 2015 to get the word out there and Byron Bay Tea Company is proudly supporting the cause.
Below is an interview with Simon- his story, highlighting the issues that we currently face with a declining bee population and some of his tips on how we can all make a difference.
Your life has changed enormously in the last 12 months as you follow your passion to SAVE THE BEES. What’s driving you in this pursuit and why is this so important?
Save the bees AustraliaBeethecure.com.au has evolved from saving problem bee infestations and re-housing bees into a social enterprise. Bees encompass so many issues- organic farming, nutrition, pollution, environment, education, wisdom and love. Save the Bees’ aim is to unite like-minded people and raise awareness of the importance of bees and the plight that bees face. Bees are like a Canary in the cool mine. If they start to die it's a warning to the world something is up. If we want our children to have a healthy future bee health is imperative.
About 18 months ago, my own hives swarmed. I put the word out there that I would collect swarms for free. The next day I had twenty phone calls. Bees have a way of predicting the perfect time to swarm. I had a sleepless night thinking about how these bees were to be exterminated if I couldn't provide them with homes. Amy from a mini kitchen paid for a hive in advance and local graphic artist Josie Jones designed the save the bees logo. I saved them and over 70 other colony's last year. I kept people updated on Instagram and Facebook. I lost 12 colonies to pesticides near a vineyard. Since then I've dedicated to finding the truth about why bees are dying around the world and informing people about how they can help.
You talk about some pesticides that are available in Australia that are known to kill bees. What pesticides are these?
All of us share this issue- no bees, no life. I want to empower others to know that they can make a difference. Products like Roundup weed killer and Confidor insecticides have been proven to harm bees. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup has been banned in several countries for being carcinogenic. Bees and humanity face a major challenge as massive corporations such as Bayer and Monsanto are determined to feed the world with GMO Food mono-culture farming. Bees don't respond well to this greedy approach. Respect and honour bees like we ought each other. Bees sustain life on Earth doing what they love. If we can approach life the same way as bees do, working together and sharing- then our children's children will have an abundant future.
Apart from avoiding the use of these pesticides, what else can people do to support bees?
If you are north of Sydney, it's a great idea to keep indigenous stingless bees. Insect hotels are great as well for solitary bees and other pollinators. Letting the lawn grow longer and allowing the broadleaf weeds to infest the lawn and flower. Bees love thistles Dandelion, Lavender and Borridge and generally flowers, not lawns. You can also make your own weed killer using vinegar and a little detergent.
What amazes you most about honey bees and what they do?
Bees have achieved harmony, unlike the human race. They all love what they do, change jobs several times in their life and constantly share with each other. By doing what they love they sustain life on earth. Bees have a perfect system based on wisdom and love. Not only are they literally medicine in terms of what they produce but they also teach us.
You have told me some amazing stories of how friends of yours have benefited from the use of honey to heal and cure various ailments. What are some of the medicinal benefits of honey that you know about?
Research suggests that all raw honey, particularly in Australia is medicinal. Manuka is one of the most deceptive labelling situations ever in Australia. Not only is the Australian coast full of trees from the Manuka family, the latest research says that Eucalyptus honey is active also. I have witnessed a horse with a sever Ankle ulcer deemed to be put down healed from honey. I've seen severe burns been healed and left without a scar. I suggest a little raw honey on abrasions instead of a bandaid. Bee pollen is the most complex food on earth it is over 40% digestible protein. Bee pollen has the capability of reducing human’s unsustainable cruel over-reliance on meat.
You strongly oppose the importation of honey from countries like China and actively encourage Australians to buy local. Why is this so important?
Calamitous and ludicrous, Australia is exporting tonnes of what the Chinese call "forest honey" to China for about $6/kilogram. Meanwhile, Australia is importing honey that has had no monitoring and that the Chinese themselves refuse to buy because of the contaminants in their environment. To deal with the bad conditions in China, often antibiotics are used on their bees powerful antibiotics, not monitored.
Only 5% of imported honey is tested which risks the whole Australian honey industry. Though we already have foulbrood, it's very possible that different strains and further outbreaks will result from honey imports. I'm calling a ban on importing honey- Australia’s bees produce such high-quality honey and importing honey risks the industry. If a ban on importing honey cannot be achieved, tariffs seem like an obvious direction to head. Labelling here is an absolute sham. Some well-known Australian brands are calling their honey Australian when it is merely the plastic that is Australian-made and the honey is sourced from China. Also, supermarket honey is usually heated taking away any nutritional value. My take-home message- buy local!
Your main objective seems to be educating people about the importance of bees and the issues we face. Do you see that Australians are becoming more aware of this issue and more actively involved in making a difference? Where do you see this situation in say 5 years?
I'd love it if there was an educational program up and running aimed at children in grades 1 or 2. Social media is very powerful. The world’s really one big brain now! This can work in favour of bees. Russia, Sri Lanka, Europe, Hawaii and Scotland are very focused on organic and localised farming rather than GMO and monocultures. Hopefully, Australia can wake up!
The aim for me is to spread the word and to have 60000 beekeepers in Australia, rather than a few beekeepers with 60000 hives. We can't wait on our leaders- we have to take control of our own lives and support local.