President's Report

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun? It seems like only two minutes since the last letter! We are, at least, enjoying weather a few degrees warmer and the rain has stopped coming every day. That said the recent gales were a bit nasty and caused significant disruption – our bees survived though and we’re happy for that. Since the last letter we have had our freedom restored to a greater degree and have been able to have a good look at the hives. The club even has its own QR code - Life is looking up! 

Most of our girls are doing well. We have 3 hives at home and look after 4 for someone else – 2 of the home hives are horizontal types and one a flow hive. The girls in the single floor homes are going great guns with high numbers and no sign of disease or pest so we are happy with them. Unfortunately, the girls in the flow hive (Super not yet in place) are doing less well and are suffering from chalk brood with low numbers and the hive suffers from dampness. The question is why? I’ve come to the conclusion that they are in the wrong place, even though they are between the two horizontal hives. The difference? A tree. I think there is too much shade and the canopy doesn’t allow good airflow around the hive. I also made the mistake of leaving the girls in a double brood box over winter and the girls simply couldn’t get warm enough and suffered dampness as a result. So, the they are now in a single box and I will be taking a chain saw to the non-native tree (yes, wearing my bees suit). If that doesn’t sort them out I will have to move them. Ho hum. 

Why have I come to these conclusions? Well, on the other side of town I have a similar situation – a row of three hives over the space of a meter and a half, two going great guns the other not so well. In the hives doing well the girls are just amazing, how they all fit in I’ll never know, but fit they do. In the third hive we have a similar situation to our flow hive at home. The difference? A shed. The weaker hive sits at the corner of a shed and I believe the extra shade and changed air flow don’t allow the girls to stay warm and dry. I’m not sure I can ask the owner to move the shed but I’ll think of something! 

I have only been keeping bees for a year now, and any honey we’ve got has been fed back to the girls to keep them going and make their lives a bit easier. I love keeping bees, and I’m fascinated by them and their social structure, they always lead me to ask ‘what can I learn from that?’ In this instance, think long and hard about where you are going to site your hives – it could make a huge difference to your bees and (consequently) your honey harvest! 

As ever, there is lots going on at this time of year, more so this year for obvious reasons. Whatever your situation, I hope you are well, your bees healthy and you are looking forwards to our first face to face meeting in February – I know we are! 

Best wishes 


Table of Contents
1. President's report
2. Next Meeting
3. Zoom Meeting Invitation
4. Meet your New Committee
5. Bees at the Office 
6. Beekeepers Assistance Program
7. Visit a Local Beekeeper Program
8. Local Suppliers
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Next Meeting - (Login below)
The topic for this month's meeting - our last for this year - will be General Q&A so bring along all of your curly questions. Rather than asking questions in person we would ask that you put them in the zoom chat. If you prefer you can send your questions to Jackie (link below) and if you have any pics that you would like to ask a question about or discussed please feel free to send that to Jackie too or have it ready to share to the group at the meeting. 

The second part to our meeting will be the Photographic Competition - Bee themed, of course. Any bee pics you would like to enter into the comp - with a limit of 3 pics per person - can be sent to Jackie. She will collate them all and keep it anonymous for the popular vote for the winner. Best of luck to everyone.

I've put a few bee pics in the newsletter to get you inspired and out into the garden with your Box Brownie. Good luck everyone. 
Click here to email your comp questions / pics to Jackie
South Gippsland Beekeepers
is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: SGB November Meeting
Time: November 11th, 2021 07:30 PM Melbourne

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 363 189 9194
Passcode: SGBees
Meet your Committee
This month we start with your new President:

Andy Teitge

One of my first memories as a toddler was of stepping barefoot on a bee.  The poor creature must have been terribly shocked and we both paid the price for my wobbly misadventure. Fast forward several years to a bee trying to escape our house and me begging Dad to kill it. Patiently, he explained about the honey bee, how they organise their social structure and (of course) where honey comes from. It turns out this particular bee was a drone and Dad caught him up and released him into the garden. Since then I've wanted to keep bees but it's only recently that it has become possible and luckily my wife Paula is of similar mind.
Of course, it's only when you actually start that you realise the complexity of doing so, but we are learning and had a brilliant start with the club beginners course.  I am fascinated by them and love to see a plant full of bees going about their business; to me it is the perfect symbiosis.
Here is our new Secretary:

Anna Jones

Family History

Our secretary, Anna Jones (nee Davidson), is the great, great, great granddaughter of Superintendent Davidson, who was manager of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens from 1828.  It appears he was responsible for the successful introduction of the European Honey Bee to Australia. 

From The first introduction of honey bees to Australia were on the Isabella in 1822 to Sydney and further hives were imported in 1824 aboard the Phoenix. However, a report in Loudon’s Gardener’s Magazine, quoted by Barrett, suggests the Sydney imports soon absconded to the bush.

This account attributes the first successful importation of European honey bees to Dr Braidwood Wilson of Hobart Town.

It reads:

The European Bee has been oftener than once introduced to Sydney, but without success; the swarms having always left the hives for the woods.

There is a government garden at Hobart Town, under the care of our correspondent Mr. Davidson… the latest account which we have had from this quarter relate to the European honey bee…A hive was carried to Van Dieman’s Land, in the autumn of the year 1830, by Dr, T. B. Wilson, at the suggestion of his friend Mr. R. Gunter of Earl’s Court, brought from London in a wire case. It arrived safely, and the bees swarmed several times the first year; and in the True Colonist (a Hobart Town newspaper) of February 14th 1835, it is stated that a hive descended from Dr. Wilson’s, belonging to a gentleman in the neighbourhood of Hobart Town, had already swarmed eighteen times.

Hives of bees descended from Wilson’s imports were later shipped to Sydney.

The Davidson Family Archives ( states:

In 1832 tribute was paid to Davidson for his successful management of a hive of bees introduced by Dr.T.B.Wilson R.N., a Surgeon and Superintendent on convict transports.  These bees apparently were the first European bees in the Colony and multiplied sufficiently in the Gardens for Governor Arthur to send a hive to Governor Bourke in Sydney.

Pic left: William Davidson 1805 - 1837

Bees at the Office
Today on the grass amongst the cape weed flowers this little lady was busily looking for some pollen to take home. It was very windy making taking pictures of bees rather challenging. Bees never sit around on flowers for long so it takes a lot of patience and time to get a good shot. 
If you can zoom in a bit on the hind leg of this bee you can clearly see that her pollen basket has dark purple pollen in it. It looks almost black with a pearly purple hue. I must be rather unobservant because I have never noticed this purple pollen before. Have you?
From winter: This bee is working on a Salvia flower. It's common name is 'Bethel Sage'. It flowers on the terminals of >1m long spikes. I have just pruned all of the plants back now to allow them to recharge and sprout again ready for next year. They really are perfect if you have a large garden and want a lovely splash of colour during winter.
This is a more recent picture with one of our current bees drinking nectar from a large echium 'Blue Spires' from Heronswood in Dromana. This too flowers on long spikes with flower heads which, having just measured one, I can tell you is 20cm x 50cm. These are Spring to Summer flowering and make quite an architectural feature in the garden.
SGB Beekeepers Assistance Program
This is a service for our club members initiatied by the SGB
'Paying it Forward'

From: Peter Gatehouse, Vice President
Dear Members,
One of my duties on the current SGB committee is to coordinate a 'Beekeepers Assistance Programme' for the members of our club. 
This involves identifying suitable beekeepers in our club who are willing to put their name on a register to  assist other beekeepers with their hives when a situation such as illness/injury or family emergency is preventing the owner of the hives from carrying out their responsibilities under the apiary code of practice.
For example ...
Click here to read the rest of Peter's letter
Visit a Local Beekeeper
The program is to provide new beekeepers with the opportunity to be able to visit the apiaries of more experienced club members as they go about tending their hives - keeping it all quite informal.

During the summer there will be a number of opportunities for club members to access this service.

All members will receive emails as these dates arise. Participants are chosen on a 'first in best dressed' basis. Places are limited so you need to respond quickly. Notice is usually quite short, as in a day or two prior, due to the necessity for suitable weather. 

We have a number of volunteers who are situated around South Gippsland.

If you have children that you wish to bring along that may be possible but must be cleared with your host first.

This is only possible with the co-operation and generosity of club volunteers sharing their time and apiaries. 
For those who take up the offers we would ask that you follow Barrier Hive Management rules, i.e. Please come with freshly laundered or new PPE. Do not bring your own tools or smokers unless you are asked to by your host.
Local Suppliers

Beekeeping Equipment / Wax dipping / Queens
Peter Gatehouse
Phone: 0423 244 107
902 Berry's Creek Road Mirboo North 3871
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Beekeeping Equipment / Wax dipping / Queens
Peter Gatehouse
Phone: 0423 244 107
902 Berry's Creek Road Mirboo North 3871
Email Email
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