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South Gippsland Beekeepers

February 2019 


Happy New Year to you all and welcome to another year with the South Gippsland Beekeepers.

From all reports so far it seems as though this summer the girls are bringing in lots of honey, which means surplus for us, the beekeepers and happy smiles from our families, friends and customers who have all grown accustomed to the delicious fresh local honey we supply them with.
The season started off a bit slow for some of us but things have fallen into place now with most hives containing ample honey for us to rob.
I've heard reports too of a lot more SHB locally this season than in previous years. Personally we have had a few beetles and were forced to join up a hive, which had been weakened firstly by swarming and then SHB, with another stronger hive. That hive is now doing well although there are still a small number of beetles present. Not so many that the bees won't choof them off though. The bee numbers are quite strong, even after a couple of terribly hot days.
If you're having problems with Small Hive Beetle or any other pests in your hives, please feel free to talk to someone about it at the next meeting or utilise our FB page. Answers to questions on FB appear a lot faster than they would relying on email or waiting for a meeting.
The February meeting will be divided into 2 groups. The beginners and the more advanced beekeepers (beeks) Decide which group you would like to be included in and bring along any questions or stories you have to share with the group. Remember there is no such thing as a dumb question.
We will still be having our new segment: The Beginner's Corner from 7pm prior to the meeting.
Hope to see you all there.

Bron Barton: President


SGB Calendar for 2019
SGB Meetings:
2nd Thursday of each month
St Peter's Anglican Church Hall

Thursday Feb 14th 7:30pm
Q & A Beginner & Advanced Groups
Sharon Fisher & Graham Beasley will be taking the Beginner Beekeeper's Group
Rob Fisher, Rob Fransen & Steve Lovie will be taking the Advanced Beekeeper's Group. Rob Fransen will also be available to chat about queen rearing.

Thursday March 14th 7:30pm
Special Speaker: Ben Moore from Ben's Bees
Ben is very active on social media, especially his Website, Blog and on Instagram Facebook, and YouTube
Ben is wealth of information and is kept busy within the beekeeping community from producing honey to mentoring and conducting education sessions within schools.

SGB Beginners Corner:

Especially for our younger or new/beginner beekeepers.
Come along from 7:00pm - 7:25pm on meeting nights and participate in a group chat with other newbies.
This session can either be supervised or not as preferred by the participants. 
Share your experiences with others in the group or request a more experienced beekeeper sit in to help with any problems and questions you may have.
Upcoming Events
The SGB will have our marquee at the 
Korumburra & District Agricultural Show -
Saturday February 9th
Come along and support us if you can as we hope to have many visitors eager to find out about bees and beekeeping. 
Foster & District Agricultural Show -
Saturday February 23rd
Any club members are welcome to attend the marquee. We will have our photographic hive on show and the 'Inside the Beehive' booklets for sale also.


A word about - small hive beetle
SHB has now progressed across the state so, except for a few isolated pockets, and these are getting rare, it is endemic to Victoria
Normally a small number of the pests within a hive isn't matter for concern if the hive is strong and the queen well bred, as the bees will scoot them out of the hive quick smart. This season is different for some reason, albeit the pest is now endemic across Victoria. The beetles are more of a pest than ever. Perhaps this is because of the massive number of swarms from mid Spring to Summer. Swarm control is very important as the phenomena of swarming can be very detrimental to a hive and apiary as it depletes numbers and leaves the colonies open to invasion of all kinds, especially if the weather is unkind and does not allow the bees to build up their numbers again quickly. The weather has indeed contributed to this being the case. The advent also of increased humidity early and rather constantly throughout the summer has created an environmental situation conducive to the breeding and proliferation of SHB. So, as you can see, the stars have aligned nicely for them and not for us or our bees. 
So the next question is: What do you do if you find SHB scurrying around your hive?
* Have a good look around all the boxes in your hive to ascertain how many beetles there are and if they have done any damage. Any number you can see is probably only a quarter or less than the number actually present as they are very good at hiding in the bottom of cells and in any nooks and crannies they can fit into. As soon as you open then hive they will hide. 
*  If you see any at all it's a good idea to just pop in a SHB trap. In-hive traps have olive oil put into them to trap the beetles. Using oil in a plastic trap has the advantage of allowing you to see straight away how many have been caught but it has to be changed with each check.
* Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is no longer used in slotted open type trap as it can spill inside the hive and may contaminate the honey. It can be used in a pre-made or proprietary device (Apithor type sealed enclosures)
* Hive mats which have a rough fibrous backing can be placed under the lid, fibrous side down, to catch any beetles which go to the top of the hive seeking refuge from the bees. These are easy to inspect as they are the first thing the beekeeper encounters when opening the hive.
* Check the trap a few days later to see how many you have caught.
* If there are only a few, say 10-15 in the trap then a strong hive will clean up any others.
* If there are more and the hive is weak or comb damaged then a more serious bottom board trap may be advisable and if things are really grim with sliming of honey and gross damage to the comb this colony will need to be rehoused, ideally this weakened colony should be joined up with a strong one.
* To do this the bees will all need to be put into a clean box with clean frames and new foundation, drawn out comb and some stores.
* The SHB affected hardware will all need to be frozen to kill all the SHB. Any brood will have to be sacrificed.  
* This clean box can then be added to the top of an exisiting strong colony, free from SHB, with 2 sheets of newspaper between them.
* You will need to choose which queen you want to keep. Unless there are strong circumstances in favour of the queen from the weak hive (e.g. She is a lot younger than the other queen or you know the other queen is no longer there) then she is the one to be killed and removed leaving the queen from the strong hive to take over. Keeping the queen from the more hygienic, stronger colony is definitely preferable. 
* Your best defence is to keep the colony tight and strong (plenty of bees to police the frames) and have hygienic bees.
Pic below is plastic in-hive beetle traps for use with olive oil.
Written by Bron Barton with the assistance of Bill Ringin
For more info on SHB you can watch
Small Hive Beetle ⪻Bee Aware

What's small hive beetle and how to manage them - Flow Hive
Bron's SHB PPPresentation on YouTube. Link below☟


Congratulations to Bill Ringin
From the Mirror Newspaper:

Bill Ringin and Liam White took the top honours as Trafalgar's citizens of the year. The pair was honoured in front of a large crowd who packed Trafalgar's public hall for community Australia Day celebrations on Saturday morning.
Bill's service to the community include secretary and booking agent for the Trafalgar East hall, a position he has held for more than 30 years.

Bill has instigated several fundraising events for the hall, including markets, and using his own equipment to mow lawns and undertake maintenance on the hall.
Bill also gives to surrounding communities, being a committee member for Old Gippstown and a life member of Moe Historical Society. Bill said he was humbled to receive the award given the calibre of previous recipients. "I've enjoyed being able to contribute to the community and encourage others to put their hand up to help make Trafalgar as great as it can be. " he said.
This newspaper article is testament to the many activities of this very busy man and no mention here of his participation in many beekeeping pursuits. These include being part of the Bio-Security task force, helping with the varroa incursion into Townsville and the Port of Melbourne in 2018. Hi is also a  member of the VAA, SGB and GAA for many years and Secretary of the GAA for longer than most can remember.  I have it on good authority that he is on 5 committees at present!

Bill has been involved in educating our younger generations about bees through schools and also with his live display frame which is always a hit with the crowds at local shows and events. Bill supports all of the beekeeping field days and often participates actively on the day. Bill has also come to speak at the SGB on numerous occasions for which we are extremely grateful.
This truly is well a deserved honour
Thanks to Linda Filsell for the picture
Hover flies and bees share Hebe flowers. The hover flies take off with vociferous buzzing as soon as you walk past but the bees keep at their work unaffected by all distractions.
Latest Bee & Beekeeping News
The Great Australian Bee challenge - Part One
Tuesday 29th January 2019
(Part Two to air on 5th February ABC TV)

In these 2 programmes host Paul West challenges four families to successfully keep a honeybee hive

Download video: mp4 | Watch on iview

Researchers use ultraviolet light to track the movements of native bees
29th January 2019

from The Great Australian Bee Challenge
Video🎥 39s
Almond growers prepare for record harvest but more bees needed to keep industry buzzing
21st January 2019

Australia's almond growers are set for a record crop this season but as the industry keeps growing, more pollination services are needed to sustain the rapid production increase.
Hive biosecurity: How safe is the honey bee industry in Canberra?
14th January 2019

Summer Breakfast host Adrienne Francis spoke to Christine Johannides from the ACT Beekeepers Association about the bee biosecurity program.
Audio🎙 6m 10s
Bees and not honey are what natural beekeepers focus on
ABC Rural: 5th January 2019

How does a Bee Sanctuary work? 
Video 🎥 1m 29s

Recipe - Honey Cakes

3 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
270g butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 eggs
Preheat the oven to 180c
Grease a 1/2 cup muffin tray and line with 12 paper cases.
Measure the honey, butter and sugar into a saucepan, then melt gently until the mixture turns clear. Cool mixture.
Measure the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Pour in the melted honey mixture and eggs and mix until well combined.
Fill the paper cases, then bake for 15 minutes until golden.
Note .. the stronger the flavour of the honey, the stronger the flavour of the cakes.

For you - from the garden

Don't the girls just love dandelion to collect pollen from.
A Flower Carpet rose (1.5m+ tall) is a pollen source for 9 months of the year.
Borage! The girls just can't get enough. Gravity is no obstacle.
I just love how this bee has draped herself over the pollen covered stamens of this dandelion flower.
Burrowing for nectar. It's so hard to get a pic of the bees on the lemon blossom. 
Hebe, no matter the colour is a bee and hover-fly magnet. However this is a bee.
Copyright © 2019 South Gippsland Beekeepers Inc., All rights reserved.

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