Snapper’s rare bee shot creates a buzz

Emily SharpSound Telegraph
Snapper’s rare bee shot creates a buzz
Camera IconSnapper’s rare bee shot creates a buzz Credit: Sound Telegraph

A mating ritual that happens only once a year for Australia’s rarest bees has given a Safety Bay photographer top honours in a Gascoyne competition.

Rob Britza claimed first prize for his image of a Dawson’s burrowing bee after hearing about the rare phenomenon while travelling.

“The competition was specifically for people to take photos of the burrowing bees because it’s so rare,” he said.

“People come from all over the world just to see them — they are an Australian bee about 20mm long and they don’t sting; when they come up from under the ground it’s a mating frenzy and you can walk among them.”

The bees only emerge from their burrows around August every year to breed and lay their eggs.

The males die after mating, as do the females once they have laid their batch of eggs.

Mr Britza has been honing his photographic skills in earnest for the past 12 years after receiving his first box Brownie camera as an 11-year-old boy.

“I took to it straight away, I could put good photos together even as a kid and, over the years, I’ve had different cameras as they’ve come out — it is just something that I’ve always been interested in and I’ve always enjoyed looking at good photos,” he said.

His prize for winning the competition was a painting entitled Burrowing Bee Dreaming by Antoinette Rowe that tells the story of the bees in the claypans around Carnarvon.

It was created especially for the competition and was personally presented to Mr Britza recently in his home of 17 years, Safety Bay.

“It’s very interesting, it only goes for about a month and then it’s all over again until next year,” he said.

“We went out to where they were and took lots of photos of the bees around their burrows; it is amazing to watch.”

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