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May 2018 Newsletter
Issue #66
Presidents Report - May 2018

Well we certainly could do with the rain but I must say I'm thankful for the beautiful Autumn days we've been having so I can catch up on packing down hives for winter, which I've nearly done!

At our April meeting we discussed packing down and we had Dennis Roberts, David Walker and Jeff Summers up the front telling us what they do as far as packing down, which wasn't a lot! As we found out, as it’s a bit milder along the coast in the cooler months and they don't have to pack down as much as some of us in the cooler areas of Gippsland. In hind sight I should have picked people from different areas in Gippsland to highlight different practices for different areas, but what it does illustrate is that there are many ways of doing the same task in beekeeping depending on where your bees are.

Have you noticed an increase in Small Hive Beetle in South Gippsland? In the past I’ve occasionally noticed the odd one in my hives, but this year I’ve noticed some hives have 3 or 4 scurrying around. My hives have “Blue Bees Bottom Boards” and the colonies are strong, so hopefully they'll be fine. Although I could put some Beetle traps with vegetable oil in them in the brood box as well I guess. Remember you can't use diatomaceous earth in beetle traps any more.

The AGM is not far away now and with that comes a new committee so I encourage all members to seriously think about taking up a role on the committee. It is a very rewarding experience and a lot of fun! And you get the opportunity to contribute in a significant way to your club. Nomination forms will be available at the May and June meetings.

We have also formed a sub-committee (Margaret Gatehouse, Kylie Pollard and Kate Senko) to decide on who the next recipient of the “Howard Stevens’ Award” should be, which will be presented at our next AGM. However, they would like your help in deciding who the next recipient will be. A form will be available at the May and June meetings for you to write down your suggestion of who a worthy recipient would be and why. This is not a voting form, it is a nomination form. Attributes that you might consider are evidence of mentoring and support, regular contributors to the club, sharing ideas, regular attendance, and acts in the best interest of the club.

Happy Beekeeping !

Peter Gatehouse (President)

2018 Club Calendar

Thursday May 10th 7.30pm

1. Frame & Box Construction
2. Honey & Mead tasting
  1. Please make sure that your entries are on the table before the start of the meeting. Late entries cannot be accepted.
  2. 1 entry per person/family
  3. Take a number which corresponds to the same number placed on the front of the jar
  4. Tasting will commence when instructed
  5. 1 vote per person for best tasting honey & mead on voting sheets provided on tables
  6. Prize Certificates will be given for 1st 2nd and 3rd in honey and mead categories

Thursday June 14th 7.30pm

Pizza & Film night
All club members welcome to come and enjoy a pizza and salad feast. Pizza, salad, cold drinks and the usual sweets, tea and coffee are free to members and a small fee of $5 payable by non-members.
*Please direct any special dietary requirements
and RSVP for catering numbers --- to Bron.
May Newsletter Contents 
* Are your bees ready for winter?
* Feeding bees honey - yea or nay?
* Sugar laced with fungicides preferred by bees!
* Event report - Sustainability Festival
* NEWS - EU bans neonics - What about Aus?
* Featured Ad of the month 
* Medicinal honey for wound care
* Dance off
* The Georgian Bee-Keeper's Tea (story & pics)
* Shopping

Upcoming Events
When: Saturday 2nd June 2018 - 9am - 5pm
Where: Mercure Ballarat Hotel & Convention Centre 
Cost: $90 per person (incl. lunch)
Follow the link (pic above) to the website with all the info. on the inaugural Conference.
For information on the Inaugural Dinner on Friday night go to Facebook: Victorian Beekeeping Clubs Conference 2018
Follow the link (pic above) to the website with all the info on this year's Bee Congress

Are your bees ready for winter? A few of considerations

  1. It is often an advantage to reduce the entrance to 50-75mm. This will allow weaker colonies to guard their entrance more effectively.
  2. Winter  months are often wet and vehicle access to the site can be a problem. Take this into consideration when choosing a position to overwinter bees.
  3. Remember that the best time for over-wintering preparation is autumn, confine you bee-related winter activities to your garage or workshop, preparing and repairing equipment for the coming spring.
  4. If you wish to check on the progress of colonies during winter, choose a warm sunny day. You should visit your hive once a month a lift them up by the back hand hole to check their weight. Remember, when bees start to increase the brood area toward the end of winter, starvation is the greatest problem.
Primefacts: Wintering bees

Feeding bees honey - Yea or Nay?

  1. Feeding honey to a hive in some circumstances is possible, although bees do not seem to do as well on honey compared to sugar syrup. It may be better financially for the beekeeper to sell the honey and buy sugar. If honey has candied the combs then these combs can be (frozen first and then) stored and given to colonies as required
  2. Feeding honey to a hive is not desirable if the aim is to stimulate the hive. The colony will reduce the brood area, the bees will become more defensive and robbing activity will increase. 
  3. There are risks associated with feeding honey to colonies, the main one being the possible spread of American Foul Brood. AFB spores are readily transferred in honey, so you must know the source of any honey you are feeding to bees and be mindful that AFB spores will persist in honey and elsewhere for 35 years or more. It is important tat the honey should not contains any bee disease organisms.
Agnote: Honey bee nutrition and supplementary feeding

Sugar, laced with fungicides preferred by bees!

Bees like sugar and fungicides, or sugar and herbicides better than just sugar. 
To test whether foraging honey bees showed a preference for other chemicals they are likely to encounter in the wild, UI (University of Illanois) researchers set up two feeding stations in a large enclosure. Foraging honey bees could fly freely from one feeder to the other, choosing to collect either sugar syrup laced with a test chemical or sugar syrup mixed with a solvent as the control. Over the course of the study, researchers tested honey bee responses to nine naturally occurring chemicals, three fungicides and two herbicides at various concentrations.
The test revealed that honey bees prefer the naturally occurring chemical quercetin over controls at all concentrations tested. "That makes sense, because everything the honey bees eat has quercetin in it," said UI  entomology prefessor May Berenbaum. "There's quercetin in nectar and pollen. Quercetin is in honey and beebread, and it's a reliable cue that bees use to recognize food.
But to the researchers' surprise, the bees also preferred sugar syrup lace with the herbicide glyphosate at 10 parts per billion, but not at higher concentrations. While bees actively avoided syrup containing the fungicide prochloraz, they showed a mild preference for sugar syrup laced with chorothalonil at 0.5 and 50 parts per billion, but not to 500 parts per billion. "The bees are not only not avoiding this fungicide, they're consuming more of it at certain concentrations," Berenbaum said.
Fungicides are among the most prevalent contaminants of honey bee hives, and it is likely the bees themselves are bringing these pesticides into the colony through their food collecting activities. While perplexing, bees' preferences for some potentially toxic chemicals may be the result of their distinct evolutionary history, Berenbaum said.
The new findings are worrisome in light of research showing that exposure to fungicides interferes with honey bees' ability to metabolize the acaricides used by beekeepers to kill the parasitic varroa mites that infest their hives, the researchers said.
Previous studies linked fungicides to declines in honey bee and wild bee populations. "The dose determines the poison." Berenbaum said. "If your ability to metabolise poisons is compromised, then a therapeutic does can become a toxic dose. And that seems to be what happens when honey bees encounter multiple pesticides.
Article by: Catch the Buzz (The Australasian Beekeepers April 2018)
Published in the journal: Scientific Reports

Event report: Southern Gippsland Sustainability Festival 2018
The Southern Gippsland Annual Sustainability Festival was held at the Wonthaggi State Coal Mine this year. Last year's event had to be cancelled due to the prediction of torrential rain and force 10 winds! Fortunately the weather was kind to us (well, sort-of). It was sunny and warm but the prevailing winds built up through the day and were a little challenging. It was decided not to put up the side curtains to the marquee. I suspect we may, otherwise,  have spent the day saving them from ending up wrapped around the flagpole of the Devonport Hotel.
Still, I digress. It was a good day with lots of interest in bees and beekeeping. 
Our booklets did well with sales of around 20 plus.
Graham (one of our 2iC's) with a spellbound audience. It was great to see the number of kids that are fascinated with bees. Graham kept them enthralled with his demonstration of the workings of a hive and the honey extraction process. The 'SGSF' is a perfect forum for introducing people to beekeeping. 
The club's honey spinner and photographic hive were really appreciated as educational props. Our, rather unique, photographic hive has real life pics of the inside of a hive. Both sides of the frames have been photographed and make the concept of examining a hive very realistic and accessable.

NEWS: EU ban on neonics triggers call for a similar ban in Australia to protect bees.
April 30th 2018 / ABC Rural - The chemicals are widely used here but the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Authority (APVMA) says there is no evidence of declining bee populations.

click pic right: Scientists in Europe fear bumble bees are being killed by pesticides known as nenicontinoids and a vote last week will see them banned in six months' time.

Featured Ad of the Month
There has been a bit of chatter on Facebook over the last week regarding the advantages of Blue Bees Bottom Boards.
Blue Bees Bottom Boards
Hot Wax Dipped and Painted
$50 each (wooden construction may differ from picture)
Beautiful beeswax lip balm 
Flavours inc. Natural, Vanilla, Peppermint, & Blueberry
$6 each
Bees Wax Food Wraps
Made using local beeswax,
pine resin and jojoba oil
Set of 3 (S,M,L) $30

Medicinal Honey for Wound Care - Still the 'Latest Resort'? pdf link

Many thanks to  Lynn Fielding for going to the trouble of printing this article for me to read. As I was a nurse (in another life) many years ago I found this absolutely fascinating and exciting reading. 
It is a long article and some of it doesn't really need to be read by any who are not in the medical arena. The headings are helpful in sorting that out as you read along.
I had heard the head of the renal dialysis dept in a Sydney hospital, quite a few years ago, spruking his faith in the use of medical honey for preventing catheter site infections. It seems hard to believe that this news (which is 10 years old now!) hasn't become HUGE news and therefore being tested left right and centre. If for no other reason but for the cost saving if medical honey lives up to the expectations as a wound care wonder!

WARNING: This article does contain a couple of wound photographs. 

Dance Off

Researcher, Ayumi Fujiwara from the University of Tokyo, has found that bees use a waggle dance as a warning signal, but only in response to sightings of one wasp species, (Vespa mandarinia japonica). 'The hive entrance dance informs bees' nest mates of a specific emergency and of the urgent necessity to collect odorous plant materials as a counterattack strategy," Fujiwar says. The bees collect stinky plant materials, such as leaves from Nepalese smartweed (Persicaria nepalensis), and smear them at the hive entrance to deter the wasps.
(Wow, don't you just love bees?!)

RECIPE: The Georgian Bee-Keeper's Tea

Once upon a time there was an old Georgian Beekeeper. His name was Mamuka Tetuashvili. He lived on a beautiful and floriforous alpine meadow with his wife, Alodaluvin, 14 daughters, 1 son and his numerous hives of grey Caucasus honey bees. 
Beekeeping had been in his family for countless generations. (A fact that was proven by the discovery of a 5,500 year old jar of honey on Mamuka's meadow by archaeologists in 2012.)
Mamuka's life was bees and honey, honey and bees. He didn't get out much. He and his wife added many, many, many, many daughters to the family as the years went by. The girls all loved to do many things but helping with the bees just wasn't one of them. He longed for a son to carry on the family name and tradition. Finally his wife brought forth a son who was named Mamuka Tetuashvili Jnr, naturally. A boy, at last!
Mamuka Snr. was a quiet soul who listened from dawn to dusk, year after year, to the giggling, squealing, chattering, gossiping and bickering of his many daughters.
As soon as his son was old enough he took him out to help him with the bees. To his fervent delight the boy was a natural. He was a bee whisperer. As the boy grew he too became aware of the lack of solitude in a house with 14 sisters. But they didn't get out much or see other folks, he and his father. That is until one day when a travelling salesperson passed by. He was lost, obviously. He sold many things from his wagon. To the delight of the women-folk there was an array of pretty hair combs, sheepskin pyjamas, dishes, herbs and spices, boots, fur hats AND as well as all of this, there was .. Vodka. The salesman told Mamuka that he would benefit greatly from a dash or two of Vodka in his tea at night to help him to get to sleep and no longer hear the incessant shrieking etc. ringing like the bells of the Tbisili Cathedral up and down the hallways and stairs, in and out of the doors and windows, on and on and on it went. But Mamuka Jnr., who was older now and a little into experimenting with certain substances in his special, private little corner of the barn, said he had a better idea. Honey was in excess this year and with the vanilla sugar his mother had bought from the salesperson why not have a bit of a play with adding a bit of this and a touch of that. What a stroke of luck was the installation of the home made gas burner in that special little corner of the barn.The result was the joy of Mamuka Snr's life, second only to his son. He was rarely seen to scowl from that day forth. 
And that is how the Georgian Bee-Keeper's Tea came about.
Georgian Bee-Keeper's Tea
To make tea concentrate, brew tea with double the usually amount of leaves and infuse for 10 minutes.

To make approx 1 litre

600ml strong tea concentrate
100g clear honey
200ml vodka
vanilla sugar to taste (optional)

Put the tea concentrate, honey and vodka into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring. Remove from the heat. Add vanilla sugar to taste, if you wish. Pour into small heatproof glasses and serve immediately.


Due to my shocking memory I have to take this opportunity to thank the person who gave me this recipe. 

It inspired my silly story and photo session with the most cantankerous and smelly old Russian bugger I've ever had the misfortune to meet! Still, I finally got the shots I needed to embellish the story and make it the literary masterpiece that will, no-doubt go down in folklore both here and in Georgia.

I hope you enjoyed it and thanks again to the unintentionally anonymous donor.

Bron Barton

Shopping  (click on images for shopping link)
Mother's Day suggestions - Hello! Yes, it's May again

This bracelet is a fixed chain of hexagons with tiny bees 🐝too, 
so pretty!

If you've got a Mum or other half who is partial to bees then this bee themed bracelet will fill the bill - it's going to sting🐝the wallet a bit though. Ouch! 🙄Sorry about that. 
This retails for $249

This next one is a tiny little bee charm which can be put onto an existing bracelet, neck chain or even an earring. 
It retails for $25.

Both items are made by Pandora which can be found in most large shopping centres and online ... You're welcome!

Goodies for the kidlets this month

Beeswax Crayons rrp $18.95

Our beeswax crayons are made from 100% pure beeswax and non-toxic pigments so they are natural and safe for children.

Honeysticks have been "tested in preschools and the kids have tried to break them but they just can't. Plus they love the smell!"

Stockmar Modelling Wax rrp. $26.95

Made for 100% pure beeswax.

Stockmar's modeling beeswax is known for its vibrant colour, beeswax aroma and therapeutic qualities.

With its pleasant beeswax scent and perfectly clean handling, it is an ideal material for modelling.


Kids' beekeeping suit. $95 (Sale price - reg $115)

How gorgeous is this suit!  Wouldn't every junior would be beekeeper just love one of these pattern suits.
Pattern Bee keeping suit with round hat - joined with zip.  

Covers you from Head to Ankle.

Heaps of pockets, elastic cuffs for snug fit, zipped inside bottom leg to easily fit your gumboots underneath and secure.

Copyright © 2018 South Gippsland Beekeepers Inc., All rights reserved.

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