South Gippsland Beekeepers Inc. Newsletter
June 2015 Issue #37

View this email in your browser
If you cannot see this whole email, click on the link (View this email in your browser) above in the top bar.
SGB Website

From our President


As I am doing my President Report, I must say one is still in a state of shock at the treatment of the Bees as they were splitting the hives on the DVD we partly watched at our last meeting. It goes against everything we have been discussing with our guest speakers over the years on the way to handle Bees. I feel though, what it did show, we tend to lose sight of the bigger picture when we become to big. As the gentleman said his father would turn in his grave if he saw what was happening now.  I do wonder if that treatment was applied to cattle etc what outcry their would be and I’m sure 4 Corners would have filed a report by now.  How lucky we are not to have Varroa mite when you see the chemicals and devastation involved. On the upside, another enjoyable pizza night was had by all and thanks to all who helped through the night and a special thanks to Kate for organising the Pizzas and for Howard for setting up the equipment the night before.  Thanks also to Julian for bringing in his Solar Wax invention and for Treasurer Pete for his Honey Meade.  The word is he has also perfected creamed honey (non-alcoholic).


A REMINDER: With the clash of our next meeting with the VAA Conference, our meeting will be held a week later on the 18th of June. 

This meeting will be another not to be missed with our guest speaker being Eric from Better Beehives who is going to show and explain his plastic hives.  He will also try and convince us that 10 frames are better than 8.  It is always informative to look at other options and ideas.


Members will have received their raffle book from the last meeting.  It is rather a healthy sized book and please don’t feel you need to sell the entire book.  Any sales are appreciated and keep in mind the books and money are to be returned at the AGM July Meeting.


Don’t forget if you wish to view the DVD in its entirety it, as well as books are available to borrow from our library.


Hope to see you at our meetings.


Happy Beekeeping,

Steve Lovie


June Club Meeting
We have an opportunity to hear from Eric (Better Bee Hives) who will give us a chat about his Plastic Hives as advertised in the Bee Mags

July is the AGM
AGM - Black and Yellow theme - Prizes for best costume! Come-on peoples! Set your creative juices loose to ooze some truly amazing costumes this year. As they say "Let the juice loose aboot the hoose." 
There will also be door prizes and the major raffle draw. Come along and join in the fun, cast a vote for the committee, and be in the running for some of the great prizes we have this year,
Prizes include:
Meat Trays $150, $100 & $50, a Bee book,
A Ladies Pamper-Hamper, an indoor Terrarium and more!!
June Club Meeting Thurs 18th
7.30pm - 9pm


July AGM Thurs 18th
7.30pm - 9pm

Club Meetings:
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.
Any donations to the supper table are gratefully accepted.

Plant of the Month

These plants are members of the family that rejoices in the name Scrophulariaceae. In fact they are in the same family as North American foxgloves and snapdragons and the flowers look very much the same. 
Penstamon is a plant often visited by our bees.
It comes in many colours and multicolours ranging from red to pink, mauve and blue. The flowers are large enough for the bees to climb right inside collecting ample supplies of nectar and a little pollen. The flowering time for Penstemon is quite long with the plants only being out of flower for the deepest part of winter. They prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Fertilising is not necessary. It will only result in more foliage, not blossoms. Penstemon flower profusely for at least 6 months of the year.

Penstemon grow from seeds, seedlings or by digging up the rhizomes, dividing and replanting them. They grow to approximately 1m x 1 m. and make a lovely addition to any garden but are especially suited to cottage gardens. The honeyeaters and spine-bills will also feed from the flowers. These plants are native to the hills and mountain regions of California. The Navajo used Penstemon poultices and balms to aid the healing of open flesh wounds sustained in battle. 
May Pizza & Movie Night
top: the President and Treasurer looking extremely pleased with the Mead sampling.
below left: Plenty of Pizza for all - below right: Pizza night is a great time for catching up
Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity

Code of Practice:
Section C:10 Beekeepers Must Have Honey Tested Annually for American Foulbrood


American foulbrood (AFB) is the most widespread and significant bee disease in Australia.  Early infections may be difficult to detect visually and laboratory evaluation of honey for AFB spores remains the most sensitive and accurate test for detection of the disease.  Laboratory testing may also detect AFB before it has any visible impact on the hive.  


This section requires commercial beekeepers (50 hives or more) to have an annual, independent test of their apiary for the disease.  This will detect disease present at low levels and will provide a snapshot of the level of AFB in different geographical areas.  Monitoring changes in the level of disease over time will also provide some evidence of the effectiveness of this Code.


The beekeeper is only required to have one test conducted on a pooled honey sample collected from at least 20% of their hives.  More extensive testing, either through a laboratory or by using AFB test kits, is recommended to assist with AFB detection and control.


Control of AFB is a major burden on the honeybee industry.   It is essential that all beekeepers, regardless of their hive numbers, should monitor their apiary for AFB so, while this Section of the Code is only mandated for beekeepers managing 50 or more hives, smaller beekeepers are strongly encouraged to regularly test their hives for the presence of AFB.

AFB testing kits are available at club meetings.

These kits are free.The testing is done by Gribbles Veterinary Pathology. The cost per test is $34.00.
Each test kit can be made up by combining samples of a 
number of hives within a yard.
If the test comes back positive then the hives must be testing individually to isolate the contamination.

Please speak to Bronwyn if you want any testing kits. 

Leptospermum Study

Leptospermum (Tea-tree) Study for antibacterial activity - shown as DHA units

We know that not all Leptospermums are equal. Australia has around 83 species, some of which 
has been tested showing very promising data with a number of the specimens tested so far showing higher levels of *DHA  than New Zealand Manuka honey (from Leptospermum scoparium, double form pictured left)

*crudely put, DHA is the good stuff that we pay big bucks for
Leptospermum species (currently investigated)
1 Leptospermum leavigatum 
Eastern Australia - known as Coastal tea-tree

2 Leptospermum liversidgei -
Eastern Australia - known as Lemon teatree or lemon scented tea-tree
3 Leptospermum polygalifolium 
Nth Eastern Australia & Lord Howe Island - known as Tantoon

4 Leptospermum scoparium (NZ Manuka)
Sth Eastern Australia & NZ - known as Manuka, Manuka myrtle, Broom tea-tree
5 Leptospermum trinervium
Australia - Paperbark tea-tree
6 Leptospermum whitei 
Coastal, north from Coff's Harbour - White's tea-tree
Equivalent DHA range

Less than 100

4000 - 13,000

6,500 - 17,500

2000 - 7000

Less than 100

8,500 - 21,000
from: The Australasian Beekeeper VOL:116 April 2015
Tips for New Beekeepers
How Many Hives?
It is strongly recommended that you begin beekeeping with at least two colonies (but no more than five or six until you've gained experience in managing several at once). You will need a separate hive for each colony.
Starting with only one colony makes it difficult to know whether your bees are doing well or badly. With two, you can see if they are expanding at roughly the same rate when the bees become active in the spring. and if not, you can check the weaker colony for disease. With two colonies you can also compare their characteristics. One colony may be more ready to defend its nest and inclined to sting,: one may be economical in its use of winter stores, while the other may need additional feeding. You can also compare honey crops from each colony.
A second colony will be invaluable in an emergency. If the first colony loses its queen and the bees fail, or do not have the means to raise a replacement, a frame of brood of a suitable age can be transferred into it from the second colony. The bees from the first colony can use the young larvae from the second to rear a new queen and it will make little difference to the second.
Ideally you should not fill all your available apiary space at the outset as colony numbers can increase rapidly if your bees swarm. You will need space for other hives or equipment used to accommodate bees on a temporary basis - and it is very important that you keep spare equipment. 
Another factor to consider when choosing your apiary and deciding the number of hives it will accommodate is the availability of suitable forage for the bees within a 3-5km radius. If there is sufficient forage to support four colonies, for example, putting eight on the site halves the amount available per colony. As warmer weather approaches in the spring, the brood nest expands and there are more larvae to feed. Pollen will be in great demand and, if there is too little available, less brood can be reared and colony expansion in hindered. This leads to fewer forager bees and a reduced honey crop. Find another apiary site for the extra colonies.
Colony Inspection
Before opening your hive, take time to think about what you are planning to do and why. Are you going through the colony to try to find the queen and check that the brood is normal? As you gain experience, you might be looking for signs of swarming, deciding if the colony needs a super, checking for signs of disease, or seeing if the honey is ready to be taken off the hive and extracted. What you are looking for depends on your experience, the time of year, the state of the colony, and any particular manipulations you want to perform.
Try to focus on what you aim to achieve. If you have no good reason to open a particular colony, it is often best to leave it alone. However, you can inspect all your colonies at least once every seven to nine days during the early active season. The inspection interval is linked to the life cycle of the queen - the time it takes to raise a new queen - since the main reason for inspection, particularly early in the active season, is to check for signs of swarming preparations.
from: The Beekeeper's Bible: Steward, Tabori & Chang
More  tips for beginners in next month's newsletter
Mentor's List


Keith GRAY







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

Jeeralang Junction: 9am- 6pm - 51222641,0413136878 

Beekeeper & Bee Equipment - Swarms - NO

Berry Creek: Most days - 56688250, 0427688250 Beekeeper, Interested in Top Bar Hives Swarms - NO

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

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

Leongatha Sth: 8am - 9pm Any day 56642358
General Beekeeping - Swarms - YES

Leongatha: 7.30am - 9.30pm Mon-Fri 56622280
General Beekeeping - Swarms - NO

Moyarra: 4pm - 7pm Mon-Fri 56573322 0421323707
Hobbyist Beekeeper & Orchardist - Swarms - NO

Inverloch: Up to 10pm Any day 56743605, 0418523931
Hobbyist Beekeeper, Flora Sth Gippsland - Swarms - YES
Some colonies collect a great deal of propolis and others very little. It is not known why there is a variation, though it could be related to climate. Bees use propolis to fill up gaps in the hive as a kind of draft-proofing. Some colonies use it to control the size of the entrance: they can reduce this to a few easily defended bee-sized holes in a propolis curtain that otherwise covers the entire entrance. Bees also use propolis to varnish the inside of the hive and to strengthen their combs.

Propolis is very sticky and can be difficult to remove from your fingers and clothes. Menthylated spirits will soften it and allow you to wash it off surfaces before it dries. Kitchen cream cleansers will also remove propolis but you will have to rub hard. Removing it from clothing is more difficult, but can be achieved with a suitable tar or resin stain remover. Be careful not to leave a solvent mark.
from: The Beekeeper's Bible: Steward, Tabori & Chang


Our FB page is called South Gippsland Beekeepers
Other FB pages of interest are
Wannabee? Linking Gippsland farmers and beekeepers
Gippsland Beekeepers

New Members:
Jennifer Grant, Richard Briggs and William Rogers

A very warm welcome to you all
Flow Hive Confusion
I met two people this week who told me with great pride that they were getting into bees and that to start them off they had ordered one of the wonderful new Flow Hives that let you tap the honey straight out of the hive so you never have to touch the bees or risk getting stung! May I add both were women; very well educated women.
In both cases there wasn't the time or the opportunity for me to have a stern talk with them about their sadly ignorant assessment of beekeeping using a Flow Hive.
It did show me that the advertising of the new hives has been just that, advertising, spin, and therefore more than a little irresponsible with regard to the wellbeing of the new bee colonies and the new beekeepers. Quite frankly I can't see a way of rectifying the matter. I want to be able to fix it and fix it quick but it isn't going to be easy. Both of these people were given SGB business cards and strongly urged to join the club and I did speak briefly about the importance of joining the beekeeping community for support and education. Nevertheless that is only two of the, goodness knows how many, people who have spent up big on this marvellous new invention.
I must admit that when I first considered becoming a beekeeper I would have done exactly the same thing. Yes, the outlay is a bit steep but the apparent benefits sound too good to be true! And of course they are.
The Committee will discuss the matter at our next meeting on Tuesday night and I will let you know of any suggestions/discussions which ensue.

Note from the Editor
Hi Everyone,
Please accept apologies for the typo in last month's newsletter re: club fees. I had the family and single membership fees back to front. Sorry about that. I'll have to speak severely to my proof reader.


Membership Reminder

Don't forget Membership renewals are due at the AGM in July.
The contact details are:
Peter Galt - Ph: 0409953295.
Cheques: Made payable to:
South Gippsland Beekeepers
C/O P. Galt 31 Fairview Ave Yarram 3971
12 Month Single membership - $46
12 Month Family membership - $62

Equipment Hire

2 day rentals:
Package: Decapping knife, plastic tubs, extractor & strainer $30
Decapping knife and tubs $20
Extractor alone $15
Contact David on 0433 035144 12pm-7pm
Pick-up and drop off from Korumburra or Club meeting

Swarm List

Please contact Sharon Fisher on 5644323 if you wish to be put on the swarm-list. Make sure you are prepared, in case you have to collect the swarm yourself. Let Sharon know if you need help to collect the swarm. 
If you are on the list but no longer want to collect swarms please let Sharon know so that she can remove your name and give the swarm to the next person on the list. Thankyou

Our Library

Why not take a look at the books that are available for loan at the next meeting. There is a range of books covering many topics.
Just sign the book you take, out of the loans book, and sign it back in again when it is returned.
Borrowing is on a monthly basis so please don't forget to bring your borrowed books back to the next meeting. If it is not wanted by another club member you are welcome to borrow it again for another month. Thanks
NEW TO OUR LIBRARY: The Australasian Beekeeper magazine: 12 copies: June 2014 - May 2015 

Newsletter Submissions

Any stories, book-reviews, articles, pictures etc will be gratefully received and put into the newsletter subject to approval by the editor.

Q&A: We are always eager to be of assistance to beekeepers old and new so if you have any questions please send them to me and I will do my very best to find an answer for you and will publish the answers.

If you have any questions, suggestions or complaints about the newsletter please contact Bronwyn on 0433035143 or email:
General Club Inquires for new members etc. can be addressed to
Please send newsletter submissions to or if using snail mail, please send to
SGB Newsletter
c/o B Barton
52 Elmores Rd
Korumburra 3950

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


Fishers Beekeeping Supplies
Rob & Sharon Fisher (Dumbalk area)
56644323 & 0437501133
Jeeralang Apiary Supplies
60 Koala Drive
Jeeralang Junction
51222641 & 0413136878
Open by appointment
D & M Photography
Photographs in our newsletters, plus many more, are available for purchase.
A donation of $5 from the sale of each photo goes to the SGB.
To view photos
Contact: David Barton: 0433035144


Basic Minimal ads containing a business description and contact details are available to club members
only for Bee-Keeping related wares.
Contact Bronwyn on the link provided or on the phone numbers above
Executive Committee
Steve Lovie ....... ph: 0488 622890 - 56642277 - email:
Peter Gatehouse ...... ph: 56681815 - 0437 627443 - email:
Bronwyn Barton ....... ph: 56551936 - 0433 035143 - email:
Treasurer (M'ship):    
Peter Galt ....... ph: 0409 953295 email:
All correspondence for the EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE can be sent to
Equipment and Property Manager: David Barton 0433035144
Newsletter: Bronwyn Barton ....... ph: 56551936 - email:
Swarm Coordinator: Sharon Fisher ....... ph: 56644323 - email:
Copyright © 2015 SGB, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp