View Full Version : Bee keeping
17-12-2010, 02:53 PM
I have started studying bees, well actually I just got the first book out of the library and have still to read it.
I wondered if anyone here was actively keeping bees.
If so would you be interested in doing alittle blog about what you do in your particular area, tips you have picked up on,what flowers you wish more people would grow/plant.
17-12-2010, 03:22 PM
i have 3 hives of native (australian) bees, not european bees though.
17-12-2010, 04:34 PM
I had a hive in the backyard in Melbourne about 10 years ago.
A swarm landed in my compost bin
I bought a book a net and a smoker and the hive kit
built the electric devise to attach the wax(block of wood some screws and 2 wires and a metal switch ,it attached to a car battery)
Had the Bees for a few years loved them
Best part was opening the lid and just tasting the honey underneath, it would taste of what ever was flowering that week
best was thyme and oregano honey.
Ended up selling the lot when I moved to an apartment for a while.
I miss my bees,the hum and movement was fantastic.
17-12-2010, 05:22 PM
Is it really all that different keeping Australian bees compared to European bees?
Good on you, by the way, for using your indiginous species, I think that is important.
We are supposed to have at least one native type too but I dont know anything about them at all.
I thought you were brave to just give it a go.
There are sooo many of them, I dont just worry about getting stung.
Its different with other things theres usually just one but if I mess up with bees then 100's die.
17-12-2010, 06:10 PM
My tip for keeping bees is to be confident. Map out what you are going to do and do it - if something happens and the bees get cranky then leave them to get over it and come back later.
I have just housed another two swarms I collected at the start of summer from backyards in town. They are nice quite bees not like my first couple of hives that are quite feral and cranky but boy do they give good honey.
17-12-2010, 08:21 PM
I don't know if its true but i have heard that european bees cause the native bees to go. They are a threat anyway.
I've got native bees. They grow under the fountain, in my tea chests, they tried to grow in my radio till i covered it with a towel. The seem to be attracted to dark places. I tasted the honey. It was hmm. Its hard to say what i thought of it. I can't really remember. But they have made a big mess of some things.
My neighbour across the road grows native bees. He is growing grevilleas as well. I don't know if they are for the bees or just for the birds. I think they look completely wrong in this location but he's a southerner so that'd be right. He's always worrying about bushfires as well.
24-12-2010, 01:24 PM
I wonder if ther was some way you could introduce them to a 'hive house' and keep them there.
If you have so many of them there must be a fantastic food source for them, it could be the start of a whole new career.
Of which I would dearly love to hear about!
24-12-2010, 03:17 PM
Some other bee keeping threads here
27-12-2010, 04:31 AM
I have a native sting less sugerbag bee hive which I use for pollination, they are cute to watch up close and they love to sleep in, cold weather and they won't even bother to get out of bed. but I find them all over my orchard and they are supposed to be great for macadamia nut pollination due to their tiny size. I also have a feral European bee hive that moved in. My neighbour lost all his hive to a beetle a few years ago and lost the drive to add more, but now enjoys teaching me the ins and outs of bee keeping and he gets a source of fresh honey as do I with this strong hive.
27-12-2010, 08:06 AM
you neighbour need to put in oil traps for the beetle
04-01-2011, 05:28 PM
I recently got some bees from a beekeeper with immaculate habits. (He visits his bees in the morning when most of the workers are out, the only uses lavender smoke, he religiously uses the Harmony Frame Rotation Method to keep his bees busy, he wets frames before replacing them as a little water gift to his girls etc etc).
The hive is tidy as a pin and the bees are amazingly docile and malleable. In the suburbs the bees food sources are endless and the bees are working like mad. I have already taken about 6 kilos of honey including lovely golden honey from our flowering tipuana tree.
I am trying to keep up the tidy habits of predecessor but I am a bit more random. Over Xmas I did some beekeeping with my cousin down near the WA Stirling Ranges. His habits are very slack and although he has several hives we only got a few kilos of honey and the extaction process was a complete palaver creating unappealing dirty honey that needs to be heated to seperate the wax out. As a result I have vowed to keep the management up.
I have the bees on a stand in the chook run and chicken and bee seem to get along fine. I would love to put up a few photos but it is too much of a wind-up on this forum.
04-01-2011, 05:47 PM
Further on the harmony frame rotation method: The method was apparently devised in Western Australia over the last 15 years. The idea is to manage your bee colony so that the bees dont swarm. The bloke I got my bees from reckons he hasnt had a swarm in years.
In essence, you move frames of brood, capped honey and emptys around the hive in such a manner that keeps the bees in a constant happy state of build-up. Bees swarm when the colony reaches a climax state. At that point the colony makes a new queen. All the deserters then engorge on honey and fly off with their queen looking for a new home leaving you with a weakened impoverished colony. Also feral bees are a menace, taking up tree-hollow habitat that could be used by native wildlife.
07-01-2011, 09:06 PM
Not sure what you mean by a wind up but if its cos its hard to post pics then you could try Sunburns place-www.photoblog.com.
I takes me ages to figure out how to use newfangled things but if I can do it then anyone can.
Thats interesting that he only uses lavendar smoke.I have often read that the hives are smoked but not with what before.
08-01-2011, 09:42 AM
Does anyone know if you can keep european bees and native bees together? I also heard that hives of native bees need to be a kilometer from the next nearest native hive to keep everyone happy.
I'd quite like to do both in future if that's not going to creat turf wars...:P
08-01-2011, 09:51 AM
It depends to a large extent on the forage, energizer bunny. There will be no war in my opinion as the honey bee will win easily but if you have a diverse range of forage and especially some natives then they will coexist I reckon.
09-01-2011, 09:42 AM
My old man (father) forced me into bees I used to go to bee conventions with my grand father at the age of 10. I hated them. Now as an adult I would love to have a hive or two. Basicly they arn't hard work. Keep an eye out for moths which will decimate a hive and if they get really cranky you may need to import a nice quiet queen. We occassionally imported queens from N.Z and hoped that when we introduced her that she would win the battle of supremacy which they usually did and we managed to calm a hive. I remember smoking the apiary aged about 12 and I had been sucking the honey through my veil. I asked my old man if I could go for a drink of water. When I pulled the veil off I recierved about 20 stings around the lips eyes and ears. I couldn't see for four days as I looked like homer simpson. Remember if they don't have adequet food (blossom) they will swarm and leave. A worker bee will fly 30km in a day in search of food. When she returns she will dance in front of the hive and tell them the direction, how far and the product don't underestimate nature. We have been caught out at times unable to shift our bees and have had to buy sacks of sugar from csr which we tipped into puddles just to stop them from leaving home. Hope I have contributed something.
10-01-2011, 04:28 PM
I'm surprised you still love bees after all that Ricko! Great stories though and good advice too.
And thanks PP - I'll try for both types of bees then.
13-01-2011, 08:49 PM
this is very therapeutic,
like the splash from PP.....
ignorance - lovingly handed down user to user like a drop of honey on a bees tongue.
14-01-2011, 04:27 AM
Are you trolling Kimbo? Mods?
14-01-2011, 06:13 AM
just can't get my head about the likes of you - mod
14-01-2011, 06:26 AM
i have 3 hives of native (australian) bees, not european bees though.
Adrian, I am very interested in your statement about keeping native bees. I was always under the impression that they wouldn't be happy in a man-made hive and were too elusive to "keep". If you could give us some pointers on startup, where to get them (or how), best location etc I would be very grateful.
How do you find the honey production compared to european bees? Are the bees more suseptible to problems (health or otherwise)? Is the honey remarkably different from earuopean bee-produced honey? Are they as agressive when disturbed?
Very excited now, as it has long been an interest of mine.
14-01-2011, 08:54 PM
Several of the northern beaches permculture clubs members have them now and have ordered them online. They get delivered in the box and you simply mount it and "open the door". I can put you in touch if you want to chat to them.
15-01-2011, 08:37 AM
I've done some research and it recommends that you don't harvest honey from them if you live in Sydney, as the temperature gets below 18 degrees, and they need it to survive the winters. I don't think it would be worth keeping them unless I could get some honey. Thanks for the tip.
15-01-2011, 09:02 AM
Those who have them here say they got them for the pollination benefits (I actually spotted one in my garden from my neighbour about 800m away who's just got some - and assuming it was hers, though I haven't seen any until she got them). They did say that once a year you can harvest honey but that's it.
30-01-2011, 06:16 AM
we started out with one hive in 2008, and we now have three (we split them once a year) the reason it is 3 and not 4, is I weighed them and one wasn't as heavy as it should be.
We have only taste the honey, not harvested it, because I've been told you either choose to split the hive or rob the honey.. I'll wait till i have enough hives before taking the honey..
It makes sense that as the bees are further out of the their range, they need more food to get through the winter and therefore maybe you can't harvest.
We certainly have alot of bees around when we let vegies go to seed etc, though we still seem to get better success with things like pumpkin with hand-polination.
30-01-2011, 12:31 PM
Purplepear,in hindsight this made me LMAO..
"My tip for keeping bees is to be confident"
My old neigbour was selling the block next to her house block in QLD and asked me to help her son move the hives from said block to her house one.Well I had all the confidence in the world armed IN..2 pairs of trackdacks,T shirt,long sleave shirt,bloody thick wollen jumper some netting on my head and welding gloves.Suffice to say I didn;t get stung but then again they were natives....LOL.
Nick Huggins GC Qld
01-02-2011, 02:00 PM
Is anyone here keeping bees for profit? I'm helping a mate in Sydney write a business plan around bee keeping. Honey production (Niche Product) then Service (Install, Construct, Educate). If anyone knows of someone doing this please let me know. Email nick(at)globallandrepair.com.au
01-02-2011, 04:35 PM
A beekeeper I knew was making good money from pollen (sold to health shop- $11/kilo in 2005 about 2kg/hive/day during a flow). Beeswax is also more valuable that honey. The other great cash sideline is bee colony and swarm removal with the added benefit of getting more workers for you.
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