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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic - 
All meetings of the South Gippsland Beekeepers are cancelled - Until further notice.


Edition: #85
* President's report
* Historical honey mead
* Getting ready for winter
* April 2019 'packing down'
* BeeAware newsletter
* Beekeeping news

* The tower of bit**es returns
* Plant of the month
* Ads
* Mentor's list
* Equipment hire
* Newsletter submissions etc

President's Report APRIL 2020

Hello Everyone, old members, new members, younger members and those 'golden-agers' amongst our ranks.

I hope this newsletter finds everyone well and free of the virus plague.

In this newsletter I will try to bring you as much relevant information as I can muster on packing down your hives for winter along with lots more to fill your (perhaps dull) isolation.

We start with an article sent to me by Colin. Historical Honey Mead. This is a 'must-read' for anyone thinking of making their own mead or those who already do. 

I've thrown in a variety of bits and pieces this month. I hope you find something interesting amongst the mix.

Our May honey & mead tasting night, June pizza night and July AGM are all on hold for the moment. Re our AGM, The Dept of Consumer Affairs has allowed for a delay of 3 months without penalty, due to COVID-19. If this changes we will let you know.

Please drop me a line if you have any suggestions for our - YOUR newsletter!

Cheers for now

Bron Barton - President

Historical Honey Mead

This time of year we are usually looking forward to having our honey & mead tasting and judging. With the current state of affairs of course this cannot take place but in preparation for next year's event perhaps you would like to try making some mead. The article below is an interesting read and instructional also in the art of mead making.
ps: The final paragraph includes recommendation for a bio-security no-no. Please don't leave comb out in the open for any bees to 'plunder' as it says in the article.
Enjoy - Thanks Colin for this submission for our newsletter.
Read the Article

Packing Down for Winter

Packing down hives is usually done late in mid to late Autumn but it can be done earlier if you only have a small window of opportunity.
Below are two YouTube videos touching on the subject. 
The first is from a beekeeper in southern Victoria. The second is last year's SGB April meeting with a panel discussing how they pack down their hives.
From YouTube here is a video from HiveKeepers showing Autumn Inspection
and packing down in preparation for winter.

Another video from our April meeting last year is linked to the button below.⬇︎
The panel of Peter Galt, Steve Lovie and David Walker discusses their experiences and practices to give you an idea of how different beekeepers work. 
I'm not too sure why the video finishes so abruptly but prior to that is 21 minutes of discussion, so you definitely get the drift by then.

Both of these videos will give you some guidance for what you should be looking for, good and bad and how to go about packing your hives down.
SGB Panel April 2016 - Packing Down your Hives
Click the link below to take a look at the latest news and updates on bees and beekeeping in Australia. 
Subjects covered include:
  • Vic Bee Biosecurity Officer update
  • Keeping out killer bees
  • Hive management for nosema
  • Spider venom could lead to bee-friendly pesticides
  • Bees may struggle in winds caused by global warming
BeeAware Newsletter: March 24th  2020

Global & Local Bee News: from ABC Rural

March 14th 2020
Sweet times ahead for honey producers recovering after hot, smoky summer.

Rain provides lifeline for honey producer after drought and bushfires.


The Tower of Bit**es Returns😫

I have been using this time of confinement to do some serious house cleaning, gardening and cooking and we finally got the our bees at Loch. 
We knew from our last visit that we had to take away some old dark honey frames and replace them with clean new ones and bring intact boxes as a few were rotten and allowing hive robbing through gaps. This is a bio-security NO-NO!!

There was one hive which was particularly irritable. I don't think I'm being unkind when I compare that hive to the historical 2016 'Tower of Bitches'. This was a hive 3 full boxes high which housed the most vindictive, caustic and mordacious (I didn't make it up, but I did look it up. It means bitey. Great word!) group of bees you could ever have the misfortune to encounter. 

Read the full story by Bron

Sugar Shake Program for varroa mite - YOU can participate!

Doug Somerville, Technical Specialist Bees from NSW Department of Primary Industries demonstrates how to sugar shake bees to determine varroa mite populations in a bee colony.
Please consider being a part of this well worthwhile initiative for the early detection of varroa mite in Australia.

This program is designed to remind beekeepers to test their hives for varroa mite on a regular basis i.e. 3 times a year.

Participation is very easy. Just email Ally Driessen with your name and Reg # (the one you have branded on your hives). You will then be put onto the mailing list which sends out reminders in March, September and Nov/Dec with forms to accompany your samples.
Taking the time to do the test three times a year is a small price to pay to try to preserve Australia's Varroa free status.
If you would like more information on the test - please read the DPI AgNote AG1417 Sugar Shake Test Detection of Varroa Mite 
Sugar Shake Test


Beekeeping Equipment /Farm Gate Store

Rob & Sharon Fisher
0437501133 / 0418502396
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Hill Top Hives

Peter Gatehouse
Phone: 0423 244 107
902 Berry's Creek Road Mirboo North 3871
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Website Website
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Beekeeping equipment. By appointment

Stan Glowacki
Koala Drive Jeeralang Junction 3840 
0413 136 878
5122 2641


Basic Minimal ads containing a business description and contact details are available to club members only for bee related wares or services.

Contact Bron on 

Mentor's List

Any of our mentor's are as close as your phone.
Just give your chosen mentor a call if you have an issue you need sorted quickly. If possible, sending them pics of your problem or relative to your question makes their job a lot easier. Choosing a mentor nearby is recommended just in case a hive visit is needed.
Rob SPRATT - Leongatha Sth: 8am - 9pm any day. General beekeeping, swarms 

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

Stan GLOWACKI - Jeeralang Junction: 9am- 6pm - 51222641 / 0413136878 Beekeeper & Bee Equipment - Swarms - NO

 Peter Gatehouse - Mirboo Nth: Most days - 0423 244107  Willing to help with onsite problems or guidance -  Swarms - YES

Bill RINGIN - Moe: Daytime/Evening up until 10pm: 56331326
Hobbyist Beekeepers - Swarms - YES

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

David & Bron BARTON - Korumburra: From 10am Any day 0433 035144 / 0433 035143 General Beekeeping - Swarms - YES

Equipment Hire

2 day rentals:
Package: Decapping knife, plastic tubs, extractor & strainer $20
Extractor alone $15
Honeycomb Crush $20
Contact David on 0433 035144 12pm-7pm
Pick-up and drop off from Korumburra
If you have any submissions, questions, suggestions or complaints about the newsletter please contact Bronwyn on 0433 035143 or email:

General Club Inquiries for new members etc. can be addressed to 
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