Newsletter July 2017
Issue #58
club meetings

Are on the 2nd Thursday of each month 
starting at 7.30pm 
at  St Peters Anglican Church Hall,
Cnr McCartin & Bruce St's, Leongatha.
The meeting is followed by supper with tea, coffee and nibblies.
(please check your emails, the club website and this newsletter for occasional changes to the meeting dates)


President's Annual Report
2017 Club Calendar
Spring Movie
SGB Membership Reminder
The Perfect Site for Your Hives
A Word or two about the Strzelecki Gum
Keeping Honey
What is Honey Comprised of?
Winter Hive Care
Latest Bee News
Beekeeper Registration
Mentor's List

Honey Bee Brains & Lavender 
Catalyst: ABC TV

president's annual report - july 2017

Hello all,

I, with much trepidation at the time,  put my hand up to serve as President at the last AGM, even though I wasn’t there. I was having fun in the U.S state of Vermont, beekeeping in the Northern Hemisphere’s summer. On my return, it was straight into the fire not only being new president, but also presenting at my first meeting back, on my time spent with Mike Palmer and his team at ‘French Hill Apiaries”.

It has been another very busy, active and successful year for our club, the first few months with much time spent organizing our club field day “Meet the Bees” on October 23rd at the Mirboo North recreation reserve. Events such as these require a dedicated group of people putting in a significant amount of time and energy to cover all bases and hopefully make it a successful event. I’m sure you will all agree, despite having to resort to our wet weather program, that it was a resounding success. Over 200 people attended, there were 8 new memberships on the day  (4 single and 4 family) and it made $1000 profit. A big thankyou goes out to everyone who helped make this day the success that it was from the organizing committee, who put in many hours work to the people who turned up on the day to assist in whatever way they could. I would like to personally thank our Vice President Colin Goodwin, who put in a huge effort in the co-ordination of the event, thanks Colin!.

Unfortunately the year was not been without a significant loss to our club with the untimely passing of Howard Stevens. Howard was one of a significant core group of people that started the South Gippsland Beekeepers club and we are very grateful for his significant input into our club. Howard was immensely proud of our club. While Howard’s beekeeping knowledge and natural teaching ability is a huge loss to our club, the greater loss is of a friend and gentleman to many. As most of you know we created a club “Most valuable member award” in the past year with the first being awarded to Kate Senko.  It has since been renamed, with Howard’s blessing, to the “Howard Stevens’ Most Valuable Member Award”, and the committee felt it was appropriate to be represented to Kate under the new name. I’m very pleased that this will be done at our meeting in August by Howard’s wife Lucy.

My year as president has been a satisfying and rewarding one and made all the more easy with a very capable committee. A big thank you goes to Colin Goodwin, Bronwyn and David Barton, Steve Lovie, Peter Galt, Don McClean and Julian Walker. As a group they have all been very talented and fantastic to “bounce” thoughts and ideas off, which has made the decision making process on various issues a lot easier.

Bronwyn is stepping back to take a well earned break as the secretary of the committee. I have and I know Steve has as well found her efforts on the committee invaluable as she put 110% into every task and always knew when to give the president a poke to get things done, such as the President’s report . However we are very fortunate that Bronwyn is continuing to produce the newsletter, which I’m sure the new secretary will be very grateful for, thanks Bronwyn!
Bronwyn has also continued to keep the club website updated with additions including a page dedicated to our new members which contains all of the information previously offered in the beginners pack. This initiative has eliminated the need for copious printing  and made this information available to anyone who visits the site.

Steve is also stepping back from the committee after 2 years as President and a further one to assist me in my first year as President. Steve has also been a reliable presence throughout the year for me to consult with at times and his advice has always been measured and thoughtful. I must add that he is always the last one out the door at our club meetings, ensuring that all is packed up and turned off at the end of the night, thanks Steve!

We have had two excellent guest speakers this year who were both very entertaining and knowledgeable. Neil Barraclough gave a presentation on Pollination and his knowledge on the subject was very impressive and enlightening. He shared a lot of information on the subject that many weren’t aware of. Ian Cane from the GAA also gave a fascinating personal insight into the seasonal journey of a commercial beekeeper throughout Victoria and how he moves his bees between pollination contracts and honey crops and the logistics that are involved. We look forward to organizing a field trip to see Ian's operation hopefully in the coming summer.

Kate and Lorrae have been great ambassadors for our club visiting Poowong Kindergarten, Leongatha play group and keeping children entertained at the “Meet the Bees” field day last spring. They have been instilling the importance of the honeybee to the younger members of our community through fun games and activities. They are both a great asset to our club!.

The club has flown the flag again at the Sea Days Festival, the Foster Show, a Landcare field event and the Loch Food and Wine Festival. It’s important that our club is represented at these events to help maintain the viability of our club and also to spread the message on the importance of the honeybee and responsible beekeeping. Thank you again to those members who have given their time to represent our club at these events, it’s very much appreciated.

It has been great to see different members from our club get up throughout the year to give presentations or advice on various aspects on beekeeping such as Russell Harbour’s ‘Steritech’ presentation, Rob Franssen’s demonstrations of his various inventions, our Q/A sessions with our club mentors and our night on beekeeping hardware where various members got up to present various pieces of equipment that they use. Thank you to all contributors!

Thankyou also to Linda for continuing to promote our club in the GAA newsletter and to the GAA for its continuing support.

Finally a thank you to all members for being supportive throughout the year and being a friendly bunch of people. That is our club’s greatest asset.

Happy beekeeping!

Peter Gatehouse

2017 club calendar

July SGB AGM (yes it’s nearly here) Thursday July 13th 7:30pm at St Peter’s
Meat Voucher Raffle - We haven't had much luck, so far this year, selling raffle tickets. This is one of our major fund-raisers and it would be great to have as many of you as can, come along to the AGM and buy some tickets. They are $1 each. Prizes are vouchers for $150, $100 and $50 respectively for 1st, 2nd & 3rd.

Fancy Dress Spectacular!!! 2017 THEME IS . . . . . . 😜THE CRAZY BEEKEEPER
This year's field is expected to be riddled with 'cut-throat' competitive contenders. Shhhhh -- just between you and me and not to put too fine a point on it (no pun intended😉) the bar wasn't set all that terribly high last year with some dubious place getters suspected of foul-play and sculduggery. Well, there will be NONE OF THAT NONSENSE tolerated this year. Anyone suspected of 'out-sourcing' will be severely castrated - no, I mean castigated. There may even be booby-prizes set aside for the rapscallions who flout our hazy, non-existent rules. So, now that's settled, off you all go, spit-spot!, no time to be wasted.

This little movie will inspire us all to make sure that all of our winter hive maintenance is finished, ready and waiting to get cracking for when the springing of Spring begins.

SGB membership
Your membership renewal is due anytime from now on. You can pay either by cheque and snail mail post or by direct debit with all the information you need and membership renewal forms all available on our website MEMBERSHIP page.
A reminder also that to be in the AGM door prize draw (for lots of awesome stuff!) 
you will need to be a paid up member on the night.

If you have paid your membership prior to the AGM please let Peter,
our treasurer, know so that you can be given a door prize ticket.

the perfect site for your hives
If you are looking for the perfect place for your new hives, well, there is no such thing but take as many as possible of the following into consideration.
1. Sufficient space for working and storage - leave room between hives for hive parts when conducting inspections.
2. Easy access and no more than a slight incline. Particularly for ladies or those with back 'issues' - supers containing honey can be heavy so you need to be able to get a wheelbarrow or trolley to your hives without wrecking yourself or sending the whole box and dice off into the next paddock or postcode.
3. Diverse food sources (forage) within easy reach. Look for varied garden plants and lots of eucalyptus trees as generally there will be different species growing together and flowering at different times.
4. No nuisance posed to neighbours and the public - (certainly NEVER put bees in your front yard or where they can be easily seen from the street as any bee sting will be blamed on your bees - just sayin')
5. Sheltered, especially from the prevailing winter winds.
6. Not in a damp, cold or very exposed spot or a frost pocket. 
7. Protected from animals and vandals
8. Near an available source of water
If you don't have a suitable place at home, find a property owner through FB Wannabee? Linking Gippsland farmers and beekeepers
As always at this time of year it's time to pop in a picture of one of our bees on the Tagasaste (Tree Lucerne) which produces valuable winter forage for our bees at Loch.
We never have to feed them in the winter as it flowers from July - October.

a word or two about the Strzelecki Gum
I include this in the newsletter as I am sure that most, if not all of our members are conservationists at heart with a particular interest in indigenous/local flora.

On Monday a rather large number of small and not so small people who had spent the weekend with 'the olds' for the beginning of the school holidays, went for a walk. We walked down along Coal Creek as it meanders around an unfrequented area of east Korumburra. The path is broad and easy going for little legs and old ones too and the scenery is peppered with a mix of natural flora plus accidental and ancient garden escapees which includes large stands of beech, birch and chestnut trees.

The creek is lined with mudstone which in shady corners is encrusted with moss as thick and lush as Axminster. There are, now and then along the creek, reminders of Korumburra heritage with the rusting skeletal remains of small rail trucks and their wheels. Possibly they too are escapees or perhaps deliberately discarded from the rails on the hill above. They rest now among ferns and softly flowing 

Above us is the canopy of a eucalyptus forest which subtly deflects the stinging cold June shower as we walk below. So many beautiful old trees, with undoubtedly so many stories to tell, tower above us.

We chat with a local who is collecting firewood to warm the one and only house left along this stretch of the creek. He too has many stories; one in particular which I think may interest you.

He told us that this forest comprised the last stand of Strzelecki Gums in the area and as such was of great importance.
I immediately and urgently wanted to know more. Why had I never heard of these trees before? And why did I not know they were 'vulnerable'? (In fact their Conservation Status is listed as Nationally Vulnerable to Extinction!!!)

At the first opportunity I sought out my tree books. Firstly: 'A Field Guide to Australian Trees' 1969 - but it had nothing. Then I searched 'Forest Trees of Australia' 1957 and 'Bee Friendly' by Mark Leech and once again not a mention of these trees - so my next call was Google . . .
This is what I found:
Here is a copy of the Action Statement under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 for you to read if you wish. The information it contains is interesting and not very long although it mentions very little about the flowers and certainly nothing about it's suitability as a nectar source but that isn't really what this story is about.
This, from the Action Statement: The species is now mostly restricted to very small stands on farm paddocks and roadside verges, with a few stands on public land. 
Important populations necessary to the long term survival and recovery of Strzelecki Gum occur in the following locations. These sites are considered important populations.
Roadsides (Shire) 
Bena North – Bass Valley Road (1145 individuals).
Hawkey Road (501-1000 individuals including >100 suckers or immature individuals).
Koonwarra-Tarwin River Crossing(115 individuals, including 42 suckers or immature individuals).
Private Land
Coal Creek Hillside (This is where we were walking) (200-300 individuals estimated 2002). 
Horseshoe Gully (~50 individuals). 
Rail Reserves 
Boolarra Rail Trail (Population size unknown).
Some of you may know of or have even visited these places.

Finally a little insight into what we can do to help.
What is the problem
•    Little seed regeneration occurs under old trees on farms.
•    Cattle grazing and weed competition are thought to restrict regeneration. 
•    Seed supply and adult tree health may also contribute to lack of regeneration

What are the solutions
•    Removal of weed competition and access to bare earth to enable seedlings to establish.
•    Regeneration of seedlings occurs at or away from the parent plant canopy.
•    Fence old trees from stock to enhance health and seed production.

But if these measures are out of your reach for whatever reason and you would just like to be able to plant some of these trees on your land then lastly, one other thing I gleaned from further reading was that the collection of seed for propagation should be diverse with seedlings planted in significant stands preferably from a number of parent trees.
Eucalyptus strzeleckii
keeping honey
Honey can be kept almost indefinitely as long as it is harvested correctly and stored carefully. It does not 'go bad' like perishable foods but the subtle flavours that characterise fresh honey are lost over time, and heating honey hastens this process.
Honey with a water content greater than 20 per cent is likely to ferment. This occurs if honey is harvested before the honey calls are capped over (or ripened). Honey is hygroscopic and will absorb atmospheric moisture if it is not stored in an airtight container. It can also pick up taints and bad flavours very early so careful handling and storage are essential.
what is honey comprised of ?

Honey is essentially a supersaturated solution of glucose dissolved in fructose derived from the cell sap of plants the bees have extracted their nectar and pollen from. The constant hive temperature keeps honey at it's maximum soluability.
Typically honey consists of 18% water, 35% gluclose, 40% fructose, 4% other sugars, 3% other substances.

What gives honey it's unique properties are the 181 minor components so far discovered, some of which are unknown anywhere else. It's exact composition depends on it's plant sources. No two honeys are identical. 
winter hive care☔️
It is wise to reduce the size of the hive entrance with some blocks of wood (as seen above) or polystyrene that you can easily cut to size. Reducing the entrance size helps the bees to keep the hive warm.🌬  Some beekeepers make the opening no bigger than is needed for one or two bees to be able to pass through at any one time.  This course of action is probably a bit over the top as a very small opening may become blocked with dead bees or slugs, grass or other debris thus preventing the bees from being able to get out. 

Don't forget to check now and again that your hives are leaning slightly forward to assist with the drainage of any moisture out of the hive. As the soil underneath the hive may become sodden and subside with constant winter rains the hive may move also. Moisture within the hive can be extremely unhealthy for the colony.

Put some polystyrene or similar insulation material between the hive lid and hive mat so that heat loss and condensation is reduced.

When doing periodic checks in winter, assess the weight of the hive by lifting the back up slightly. This is a good indicator of the rate at which the bees are consuming their stores. If the hive seems light and easy to lift then it may be necessary to give them some supplemental feeding. Granulated white sugar is the best option at this time of year. It can be piled onto the hive mat where is it easy for the bees to get to and also for you to see how fast they are eating it.

The bees need as much warmth as they can get at this time of year so if you are able to trim bushes or trees which are blocking out winter sun, now is the time to whip out the pruners and get chopping.




PLASTIC EATING BUGS from The Guardian April 26th 2017
Don't forget if you miss out on any of our guest speakers you can catch up on our YouTube link. South Gippsland Beekeepers. Or just follow the link of the 'Speakers Archives' page on our website.
registration as a beekeeper
We received a reminder letter that the registration of our bee hives was due. Just as well the Dept. is on the ball as I would have completely forgotten if not for the prompting. 
If you are joining us for the first time or need to renew your registration with the DEDJTR (Agriculture Vic). Forms are available on our website MEMBERSHIP page. It's as simple as 1 .. 2 .. 3.  
For 1-5 hives registration is free if it is done online and it lasts for 2 years. The cost for more than 5 hives is minimal and made quite clear, when you follow the link provided.
mentor's list

Peter GATEHOUSE - - -Mirboo Nth 0423244107 -   Willing to help with on-site problems or guidance
Swarms - YES

Ron IRWIN  - - - - - - - - -Mirboo Nth:  6pm - 9pm - 56681323  -  Beekeeper -
Swarms - YES

Stan GLOWACKI - - - - -Jeeralang Junction: 9am- 6pm - 51222641,0413136878 , Beekeeper & Bee Equipment
Swarms - NO
Bill RINGIN  - - - - - - - - -Moe: Daytime/Evening up until 10pm: 56331326  -  Hobbyist BeekeepersSwarms
Swarms - YES

Dennis ROBERTS - - - - Foster: Mon- Fri 9am - 6pm 56822339  -  Professional Beekeepers
Swarms - YES

Robert SPRATT - - - - - -
Leongatha Sth: 8am - 9pm Any day 56642358  -  General Beekeeping - Swarms - YES
Swarms - YES
newsletter advertising & content
Ads are available to club members only for bee related wares or services
Contact Bron on 0433035143
the bunyip beekeeper
The Bunyip Beekeeper
6 Webb St Bunyip Vic 3815 - Ph: 0487 100 001 -
Facebook: thebunyipbeekeeper
jeeralang apiary supplies
Stan Glowacki
60 Koala Drive
Jeeralang Junction
51222641 & 0413136878
blue tree honey farm - formerly known as, fisher's beekeeping supplies  
New farm gate sales store - Blue Tree Honey Farm NOW OPEN!!
for your Beekeeping supplies, Honey, Jams, Café & Devonshire Tea.
For opening hours/days check on FB, ,m: 0418502396
Rob & Sharon Fisher (Dumbalk area) 
hill top hives (mirboo north)
Hot Wax Dipping Service:
Hot wax dipped: $5 per hive box
Hot wax dipped and painted $10 per hive box
(New equipment only)
We can also supply new assembled hot wax dipped and painted hive boxes.
8 frame deep box; $45
10 frame deep box; $45
Ideal boxes: $35
Nucleus hives 5 frame: $95
Please call for prices on other equipment costs.
Contact: Peter Gatehouse 0423 244107 

FB: Hill Top Hives.


Peter Gatehouse ...... ph:56681815 - 0423 244 107 - email:
Colin Goodwin ..... ph:0438 545 145 - email:
secretary: newsletter editor: website editor:             
Bronwyn Barton ....... ph:0433 035143 - email:
treasurer (M'ship):    
Peter Galt ....... ph 0409 953295 email:

All correspondence for the EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE can be sent to
OR our NEW snail mail address: PO Box 871 Leongatha Vic 3953

equipment and property manager: David Barton

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South Gippsland Beekeepers Inc. · PO Box 817 · Leongatha, Vic 3953 · Australia

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