View Full Version : Bees
29-09-2005, 09:25 PM
Has anyone incorporated bees into their system? I would love to get some native bees but from what I've read they're not that great as polinators. Still I think I'll get some...would go well along a bush trail.
29-09-2005, 09:42 PM
Hi Corn/Cobber :D
Tullymoor skeered by bees but would love some. Not skeered by the ones all over the lavender here at the moment, but skeered to keep them/handle them/move them /STEAL from them!! :shock:
Interested to hear if anyone keeps them.
Do native bizz (did anyone see that episode of Rove?? Bizzy bizzy bizz :lol: :lol: :lol: ) not have stingers??
29-09-2005, 09:54 PM
^^ tis the best place to find info on Aussie native bees regarding stinging.
29-09-2005, 10:10 PM
Bees will be involved in your design wether you have a hive or not. Native bees make great honey (not big amounts) but as you know aren't great pollinators. A couple of months ago I acquired a hive of bees but only for the end product, honey. I got them mainly because I've had a long term interest in them and the opportunity came up. I live in a town so there was no need to have them for pollination ( I have friends a few streets away who have bees, thats where I got my honey before I got bees). In Australia we long ago imported bees to pollinate the imported plants that we now eat. Another friend of mine has a native bee nest in his back yard but he doesn't 'rob' it of honey, he has them for the joy of having them in his backyard, they don't sting. I had the great thrill this morning on going up the back yard to feed the chooks of observing my bees swarming. Scared shitless as I was I put on the protective clothing (The guy I bought them off laughed at me when I rang to tell him what I was doing [ apparently they are at their most placid when swarming] ) I now have 2 hives of bees but apparently have to wait a week or two before I kill the queen bee in the new hive (this beeing the old queen). Cornonthecob, I would recomend bees, native or imported, firstly because the honey tastes better than any you will buy commercially, secondly because the pleasure in 'growing your own' is second to none, and if the adrenaline rush I experienced this morning is anything to go by (I'm sure it will settle somewhat the next time I have thousands of bees buzzing around me ie when I kill the old queen) just do it.
29-09-2005, 10:17 PM
Yeps...will definately get some stingless natives......mainly for, as you said, the pleasure of having them. I have over the years come across them many times in the bush....lovely things...though if you're sweating it seems they dive right in for the salt! lol
There is a place just west of Brisbane that sells them....and from what I've read, it isn't too hard (famous last words!) to split a hive. I have some lychee trees that I will most likely have to net....am thinking if I net the whole orchard and plant lots of flowers to sustain the bees when the trees aren't flowering they might do all my pollination (didn't forget the second 'l' this time!) for me.
We're not big honey eaters....I think the stingless natives produce 1/2 -1 kg a year?
29-09-2005, 10:38 PM
Mate you won't look back, I'm told (I haven't experienced it) But I'm told the native honey is the best. I'm still trying to get my mate to 'rob' his native bee hive so I can get a taste. Different rules though for the imported ones but the place where you buy them from will tell you about the native rules.
29-09-2005, 10:43 PM
I'm lucky one of my neighbours has about 30 hives on his property, they would be 800m away from my place, I always see his bees around here and the honey, mmmmm I love it and eat it most days.
The bees are a big part of my system, but someone else looks after the bees, I have the best of both worlds.
29-09-2005, 10:49 PM
Tis also very good for wounds!
29-09-2005, 10:52 PM
We recently used 'Medical honey' on wounds on our ward with much success
30-09-2005, 04:17 AM
never heard such stuff about native bees not being good pollinators, i had a hive now given to a friend and i've also got some wild hives near by the flowers are always well visited by them.
and they don't sting period you can't even get them riled up.
see this link:
len :) :?
30-09-2005, 05:06 AM
I used to keep bees back in the early 90s, before my wife arrived. They were a mix of European bees, which i managed in hives, and the small native Maya stingless bees, which we still have (we have three colonies on the farm, two at the old kitchen and one at the chookery).
Europan bees are not difficult to work, and produce lts of honey. The Mellipona stingless Maya bees produce minute amounts of very incredible honey. Both of these species also provide the service of pollinating everything.... which makes them a must have for an integrated farm.
Having said they are a must have, I have not raised the Eropean bees here in a few years because they have become "Africanized", or crossed with the more difficult to manage (not "agressive", think "hyper-defensive") African bees.
African bees are mean. They are tough, they are hard to manage, and they have a tendency to abscond, or abandon their colony.
In 1989-91 I had European bees, and I would extract honey from the hives, and eat is, sell it, trade it, give some away, eat some more of it...
In 1991, they became Africanized.
In 1991 I had one hive. I had not been out to the apiary for a few weeks, and thought I should go see how they were doing as I intended to take some honey from the hive in a few days. As I was walking out the door, I thought, hey, maybe I should wear my gloves, so I went back and put my gloves on. I already had my bee suit, and the smoker was fired up.
When I opened up the hive, they came at me in a stream, thousands of bees, and they were pissed! They stung me 6 times through the gloves on each hand. Howling, I ran away, blowing smake over my shoulder and between my legs as I bolted in my bee suit, for safetly.
I had to reevaluate keeping bees.
With African bees, the problem is that you need to work the hives in pairs. One person needs to extract frames, the other needs to smoke the bees. If you put the smoker down, the bees get the upper hand, quikcly. I was single, and my nearest neighbor was about a mile away, so I went to hassle him for help.
Luckily, Robin was interested in bees, and had access to a second suit. We returned with TWO smokers, suited up for battle the next day. We took about two gallons of honey from the hive, leaving more than enough for the hive to survive, and hightailed it out of there....
About aa month later, the bees decided, for reasons known only to the bees, to abscond, abandoning thier hive. I tried to put on a sad face :( , but, truthfully, after the last experience, I was secretly relieved....
I took a course in Africanized bee management through Min of Ag sponsored by Peace Corps in 1990, and it was very useful. Dawn and I have been talking about raising honey bees (other than the local bees we keep already) again for a few years, and get closer everyday. Of course we are closer to doing lots of things everyday, but working bees in pairs is useful, and we both like honey.
Tullymoor (Q of t F, H of T (D)), you could easil do bees. As long as they are not africanized, they are easy to work, they just require patenice and slow movements, and some distance from your house.... :lol: .
Bees increase the overall efficiency of the farm though they are a small detail in complexing. By pollenating they increase fruiting, by collecting pollen and converting it to honey, they create another harvest cycle, which is a product of value without any cost to the farm and true benefits. If you have space, bees should be an integral part of your system design.
Now I have to deal with getting honey bees (as opposed to stingless Maya bees) again....
30-09-2005, 01:17 PM
Other than the hives, suit & smoker, what equipment is needed to keep bees. Is the extraction equipment expensive. Do you always need on eof those stainless steel centrifuges (sp?) that you put the cell racks in and turn with handle? How much are these things?
Also, how much honey can yopu expect to get how often from each rack (not sure what the correct term is for the cell thing that goes in the hive).
Richard on Maui
30-09-2005, 04:41 PM
I have always understood that Australian native stingless bess (Trigona sp?) were awesome pollinators precisely because they are so small and can fit into the most delicate of flowers and fully spread a whole lot of pollin around where it counts. I can't remember the specific trees that they were touted to assist in pollination, in general I thought most Tropical fruit trees,ones with smaller flowers I'd assumed, but I am sure they were reknowned for being superior to honey bees in this respect...
30-09-2005, 04:48 PM
Yeps, you're correct Richard. I misread what I wrote about them not being great pollinators.
Richard on Maui
30-09-2005, 05:25 PM
for some reason I've got that Led Zep song in my head, but now it goes,
"A whole lotta pollen!
A whole lotta pollen!" :rock:
01-10-2005, 06:31 PM
I was given to understand that native bees were great for natives (They had been doing the job for eons before we invaded) and imported bees were brought in to help pollinate with imported plants. I definately don't wont Christophers hell experience with bees though, that would be character building.
01-10-2005, 09:29 PM
A couple of resources are http://www.honeybee.com.au/ and http://www.agric.nsw.gov.au/reader/honeybees
02-10-2005, 02:32 AM
I've recently been investigating getting bees since i bought an amazing jar of the best honey from a local German lady. What a marvelous place she's got. Not permaculture, but of the old school. Very diverse, and very productive.
I've been told that you don't absolutely need the centrifuge, you can sit the panels in a tub and allow the honey to drain out.
I'm checking out Lilydale Apiaries to see how much i could get a hive for. I'm really skint at the moment and want to get so many things. (as always :lol: ) including my goats. :roll:
02-10-2005, 10:45 AM
Heres a smoke pump for only $6 to get you started..
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/APIARY-OLD-BEE-S ... dZViewItem (http://cgi.ebay.com.au/APIARY-OLD-BEE-SMOKE-PUMP_W0QQitemZ7186710238QQcategoryZ3238QQssPageNam eZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)
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