Newsletter November 2016
Issue #52
pics above: it's lavender time again
club meetings
take place 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)

right: a busy little girl on an Indian Hawthorn flower at Warragul Botanical Gardens
president's report - november 2016
November is now upon us and the weather continues to provide a challenge for beekeepers with a rollercoaster type weather pattern of occasional warm days between many cold and wet days. My hives are certainly expanding in population but forage has been low at times. Finding suitable days to inspect hives has also been challenging at times. Luckily I caught a couple of my hives on the verge of swarming and I was able to manage them before this occurred. Another one of my hives did swarm but, fortunately I was there and managed to retrieve it 20 feet up a wattle tree. Swarms have started moving across Gippsland and I have certainly had some fun catching a few.
We have come to the end of yet another busy but successful month with the smoothly run and well attended “Meet the Bees” Field Day. Despite the inclement weather over 200 people attended on the day. The feedback on the day both from attendees and from people running both the stalls and sessions was very positive. We also increased our club numbers with 8 new memberships (4 single and 4 family) as well as increasing our club funds by $1000.  My thanks go to everyone involved in making it such a successful day. It was a combination of the people skills of some, mixed with the organisational and experiential skills of others that kept the day running so smoothly.
I would like to take the opportunity in especially thanking the field day committee, who put in many hours of work, under the very capable guidance of Colin Goodwin. The planning that took place was a key factor in it being as successful as it was on such an inclement day.
Thank you to all the volunteers on the day, that filled various positions, which was essential to the day running smoothly.
I would especially like to thank Ron Irwin again for putting a great deal of time in preparing hives that would be suitable to open despite the appalling weather we have had in recent weeks. Unfortunately the one thing we couldn’t do anything about, the weather, prevented us in opening hives on the day.
Thankyou to Kate Senko and Leanne Harrison for running a childrens activities session, by all accounts the children had a lot of fun and in turn freeing up the parents for a couple of hours to listen to the various presentations.
Thankyou also to our GAA friends Ron Branch (Guest speaker), Bill Ringin and Lynda Craig-Snyders for their support on the day as always their knowledge and expertise is very much appreciated.
I would also like to extend our thanks to Daniel Martin - Leading Apiary Officer, Agriculture Services & Biosecurity Operations - Regulation & Compliance from the DEDJTR for travelling from Bendigo to deliver his presentation on Biosecurity.
As another year is rapidly drawing to a close, our November meeting will provide us the opportunity to hear from Denis Roberts how he performs hive splits and afterwards celebrate another successful club year.
As this is my final Presidents report for the year I wish you all a peaceful happy and safe Christmas and look forward to hearing how your beekeeping season is progressing in February.

Happy beekeeping!

Peter Gatehouse

2016 club calendar
November 10th Club Meeting: 🎄Our last meeting for the year!

7.30pm ordinary meeting followed by Dennis Roberts / Hive Splits🐝
AND our End of year Break-up Supper
There will be no BBQ this year.
(A huge thanks to all who volunteered but it was not to be)

The reason for this is that we no longer have an Events (& Catering) team and not enough volunteers to organize the whole thing - SO - instead (at EXTREMELY short notice) we are going to have an 'extended festive supper' after our meeting on the 10th - Thursday week.
It would be lovely if as many members as possible can come along for the meeting and bring some festive fare also.
It's time to dust off the Christmas Recipe Book.
This is your chance to impress with your traditional family Mince Pies, White Christmas, Shortbread, Christmas Cake, dare I say it? - Chocolate Mousse- there, I did! -
The options are almost endless!!
Please dress up if you would like to.
(I suspect I won't be able to resist the temptation)
Let's have some fun!
meet the bees - field day
As mentioned by Peter it was a very successful day despite the weather. Here are some pics of the day's activities.
Sorry haven't got a pic of 🌟Marg and 🌟Kylie organizing parking - they spent hours standing in the rain - Hip-hip-hooray for our parking ladies 👏👏
Steve's opening announcements as MC for the day. The day flowed seamlessly thanks to timekeeper Colin Mills and our MC
Keeping up with all the arrivals at the Gate were Peter Galt and Russell Harbour. Well done fellas.
Vendors included: Fisher's Beekeeping Supplies
Handmade Hives and other accessories
The Bunyip Beekeeper
Quick Cuppa
Bill Ringin showing some younger enthusiasts his display hive
Bill's display hive was a hit with the kids and adults alike
Ron Branch instructing on the life cycle of bees.
Darren Hardacre & Rob Spratt instructing on Beekeeping Equipment
Daniel Martin talking on bee hive bio-security.
Huge thanks to Kate, Leanne and their helpers for taking the kids session (at very late notice)
Peter Gatehouse talking on hive opening and inspection. Unfortunately, due to the weather, this had to be done inside with a slide show which was prepared 2 weeks earlier.
David Smith who spent most of the day on the SBG marquee assisting with beekeeping and membership inquiries.
Pics above from top left: Dennis & Bill demonstrating de-capping and spinning honey. top right: Sharon and Steve drawing the raffle. bottom left: Peter and Steve thanking Ron for bringing his hives. bottom right: Steve (MC) thanking our guest speakers and all contributors to a terrific and successful day.

don't forget to return you library books!
Lynda, our librarian, would like to remind everyone that library books need to be returned to the meeting this month so that she has them all together for the start of next year.
Thanks everyone.
speaking of books
I was lent this little book by Lynne, one of our members. It was published in 1968. You can purchase this book and more recent ones by the same authors (Bryan Acton & Paul Duncan) on Amazon.

In the preface it says:
A glass of lightly chilled mead on a summer's evening, when one is at peace, is a splendid thing. On a cold winter's night, a hot spiced pyment is a re-discovery of a delight that "Mr. Pickwick" took as a matter of course.
This is a great little book with a bit of history and lots of recipes of course.
I chose two for you, which aren't actually Mead, to all try over the summer:
Bolton Abbey Punch: This is a drink for a hot summer's day, when the weary traveller can stop for a while amid the hum of the bees, tractors and passing cars.(?) Mix together 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, half a bottle of gin and some crushed ice. The mixture can be chilled further before serving.
Pineapple Honey Punch: This is a modern one. Empty a tin of pineapple chunks into a bowl. Meanwhile heat up two bottles of white wine until they start to boil. Pour over the pineapple and mix in 250g of  honey. Cool and chill if desired.


an afternoon at the Warragul Botanical Gardens
This bee is busily working on the flowers of a Horse Chestnut tree in the Warragul Botanical Gardens
Another bee in the Warragul Gardens. This one is trying to elude the camera as it forages on Indian Hawthorn flowers

bee paradise:
Want to know how to lure pollinators into your farden? Bee whisperer Doug Purdie gives us the lowdown.
Have a look in your garden. How many of the plants you grow actually flower, and how many just have nice green leaves and not much else?
Those maintenance-free spiky plants and grass verges much preferred by commercial landscapers need to be replaced by (or at least intermingled with) flowering plants of all shapes an sizes. Mix it up between the exotics and the natives, the idea being to produce a cornucopia of forage that will suit all sorts of beneficial insects.
Now don't get scared, we are not talking rocket science (or should I say botanical science?) when it comes to making changes - these are simple.
The easiest things to grow are herbs. They'll do well in small pots and just need a bit of sun, so try things like basil, borage, rosemary, rocket - anything you would like to use in cooking. Must make sure you let some of them flower, as that's the reason you're growing them in the first place.
Just about anything that flowers will be good for all sorts of pollinators, and your aim is to have at least two plants flowering in your garden all year round - not just in spring - to provide a continuous food supply. They don't need to be native species, they can be anything you like the look of, just as long as it flowers. Even some weeds are fine, although you don't want to be propagating a harmful species.
Resist the urge to spray the caterpillars and aphids with poison - use natural methods e.g. picking them off manually or aphids can be squashed with your fingers or blown off with a jet of water from the hose (if you use this method make sure to place your hand behind the flower or stem just in case the water jet is unexpectedly enthusiastic).
Your garden should contain a mix of flower-head shapes, colours and flowering patterns so  you cater for as many insects as possible. There is plenty available so plant what appeals to you.
Another consideration for laying out your bee friendly planting is to allocate a spot for viewing your garden visitors. It's a joy to sit with your lunch on a warm sunny day watching the bees, butterflies and other insects busily working in your garden.
Don't forget to provide water in the garden for the bugs. A bird bath is fun but the bees will need a landing platform in their water so they don't drown. Also, on hot days, place the water on the ground in the grass or shade so that the water doesn't get too hot.
taken from Your Garden Spring 2016 edition ' Gardening Nature's helpers'
Pics below: show some examples of spring garden colour

flowers for bees
*Blueberries, Wattle (Acacia), Viburnum, Leptospermum (Tea-Tree), Leucospermum, Buddleja (Butterfly bush)
Ceanothus, (Pacific Blue) Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca), Mint Bush (Prostanthera), Lavender begins, Apple Blossom, Pansies begin, Grevillea begins
Salvia, Penstemon & Lion's Ear (Leonotus leonurus) all begin
Gaura (Whirling butterflies) begins, Dandelions, Clover

A note about Blueberries: Vaccinium Corymbosum

Features: Deciduous shrub H1-4m (Many different varieties/cultivars)
Fast growth rate. Erect deciduous shrub to 4m usually 1.3 - 2.0m in cultivation. Grown as canes from root-stock. Flowers are white to cream/pink. Flowers on 1 year old wood. Fruit is a false berry, plump and dark grey-blue when ripe with a 'frosted' flush over each berry. For the best flavour blueberries are best left on the bush as long as possible as, provided with adequate water,  they will continue to increase in size the longer they are left before picking. Plants will need protection from birds but are easy to net due to their manageable size.
Propagate by layering or cuttings
Origin: North America
Conditions: Cool Climate: 1000mm Rainfall pa: Aspect - full sun: Well drained light acidic soil
Uses: Widely grown as a commercial crop from northern NSW to Tas, with different cultivars relating to site and climate. Blueberry bushes make an attractive and productive addition to the home garden providing up to 7 kg of fruit per bush.
(Best to freeze excess fruit by laying dry, unwashed fruit on a flat tray in the freezer until frozen then immediately putting into plastic bags or airtight containers. Do not allow the whole bag full to thaw unless you intend to use them immediately as they will go quite wet and mushy and if re-frozen they will stick together in a huge purple lump.They will keep in the freezer for 12 months.)
Apiculture: Honey descriptions are from the USA. Bees collect nectar and pollen from the small tubular blueberry flowers. The pollen, while low in crude protein at 13.9%, is balanced in its amino acids. Rhodes (2006) noted that the honey is considered a table honey, is light amber to amber, rich , dense, very smooth, with an aroma of green leaves and a hint of lemon and a fruity flavour with a delicate aftertaste. It tends to crystallize. Honey yield can be 22-40kg/hive
Notes from 'Bee Friendly' by Mark Leech. A publication of the RIRDC

did you know that bees helped to win WW11?
Sugar in Short Supply:
When the USA entered the Second World War the Japanese occupied some of the countries where they had been getting their sugar which created a shortage. It was also difficult to transport sugar to the US across seas occupied by opposing forces. Thus, honey was in great demand. Sugar was rationed and honey was a perfect substitute.
The sugar rationing made it difficult for beekeepers who were often in need of additional sugar to feed their bees. It was decided that an extra 15lb of sugar be allowed to beekeepers for feeding in addition to the 15lb already allocated per hive. Supplemental feeding was needed as the honey crop almost completely failed in the summer of 1942 in the north central states. The need to save and build up colonies to serve as pollinators and as producers of honey and beeswax was paramount.
In 1942, the industry was requested to make a 20% increase in production since both honey and beeswax were urgently needed. It was stated. "The individual beekeeper, debating the high wages of industry or the duty of service in the armed forces against the project of expanding his apiaries, must give thought to the future of the industry, accepting the hazards of weather and consequent crop failure, the shortage of bee range, the incidence of bee disease, and the menace to bees from the use of poisonous insecticides."

Need For More Pollination:
It was also necessary to increase all legume seeds for additional production of dairy and beef cattle forage. Thus, bees were needed to pollinate the Alsike Clover. In the early 1940's, yellow and white sweet clover were used to add nitrogen to the soil when corn was planted every couple of years. The legumes in the roots provided that nitrogen fixation and the flowers were wonderful forage for the bees. As a result, our armed forces were well fed. Today that same yellow and white sweet clover is deemed a 'nuisance.'

The Dire Need for Wax:
The War Production board listed over 350 uses for beeswax in wartime military operations and industries. Officials in Washington were concerned about whether there would be sufficient beeswax to supply the Army, Navy and Air Force. The real 'stock pile' of beeswax was in the hands of the beekeepers in the US and it was the government's intent to enlist the aid of the beekeepers in collecting and supplying the needed wax. The goal, however, was not to devastate the hive, but to urge the beekeeper to scrape burr comb, cull poor combs, get  rid of drone comb, and save scrapings and cappings to be turned-in to government procurement agencies. It was estimated that 800,000 to 1,000,000 pounds were needed annually.
Wax was used to coat aeroplanes, shells, and drills. The tips of tap and dye sets were covered with beeswax to protect them. Bits were also coated in beeswax to prevent rust. Cables and pulleys, adhesive tape, varnishes, canvas tents and awnings needed to be waterproofed and the thread had to be strong. All were coated with beeswax for strength and waterproofing.
Common string was coated with beeswax so it would not slip. Pharmaceuticals, medicines, ointments, and dental procedures depended upon beeswax. Practically all types of ammunition were coated with beeswax from rifle cartridges to 16 inch shells. Beeswax did not expand in desert heat nor crack in polar cold. It was said that the typical war machine contained ten pounds of beeswax. Beeswax was used to desensitize gun powder for naval guns, as a corrosion inhibitor for brass casing, and as a waterproofing for leather.
About a million pounds of beeswax was used annually in the US during the war mainly to waterproofing ammunition and aeroplanes, ignition systems, and in motors and electric coils. When watching the old video footage of the invasion of the coast of Normandy on D-Day, one can appreciated the necessity of coating all the metal with beeswax to prevent rust in the salt water. This included weapons, shells, and tools.
According to a British blogger, an unusual use for a beeswax-based polish occurred during WW11 when hundreds of thousands of kg were used for above mentioned purposes. Today he, a hobbyist, is re-building a Hugo Armstrong Spitfire DC FY-F BS 435 and is using the same coating used originally by the British war plane manufacturer.
Recipe: Shred beeswax into screw top jar, Add same quantity of turpentine and same of linseed oil.Leave in mild warmth until next day, then shake to an emulsion.
It was stated that this recipe enabled the plane to fly faster, thus saving valuable fuel. Also, the 'spit polish' on the air-men's boots and the shine on the tyres most likely indicated the plane polish had more than just one use! Part of the reason beeswax has been so valued as a polish is because of its ability to seal out water.
taken from The Australasian Beekeeper June 2015
Beekeeping and it's impact on World War 11
by Karen Nielsen Lorence
Lest We Forget

a plague of small hover-flies?
The air is thick with them, as is almost every window sill in the house. At first sight you may have mistaken them for native bees but they are not a bee. They are a fly, a hover-fly.
I was thinking that it's safe to say that there is a plague of them at the moment. Every plant which has been attracting bees on these past couple of warm days has also been luring thousands of hover-flies. So I thought I would check out whether they were goodies or baddies. I did know already that they are pollinators so they started off in my good books and then as I delved deeper into the research I discovered that the larvae feed on aphids. OH HAPPY DAY! Now I love the little petty-bobs. So I'm wondering if I'm still willing to say that there is a 'plague' of them. After all if, all of a sudden, the world was inundated with Bronwyns would it be said that there was a 'plague' of Bronwyns? Likewise if we found ourselves knee deep in puppies or kittens or ducklings. Who ever heard of a plague of ducklings? Having said that it's unlikely that an overabundance of Bronwyns, puppies, kittens and ducklings will see them piling up on your window sills so I guess it's not a fair comparison. Nevertheless this peculiar weather has given us more than our fair share of hover-flies and as long as the larvae don't eat the rose buds underneath the aphids I am loathe to call it a plague. It is now, officially, as of my executive decree an exceptional overabundance.
The Research:
Hover flies are small to medium sized flies with large heads, large eyes, and small or inconspicuous antennae. Their bodies are medium to slender, with a waist that is not significantly narrow, unless it is a wasp mimicking species. They have one pair of clear wings, and the banded forms have yellow and black bands of equal width.Hover fly mimicry of wasps can include having a warning coloration of yellow and black, a narrow waist like a wasp and even the ability to mimic the stinging action of a wasp, by pushing the tip of the abdomen into your fingers if they are caught and held. However, they do not sting and are quite harmless.Aphid-eating hover fly larvae are flattened, legless and maggot-like. Most are green or brown in colour, going largely unnoticed as they crawl over foliage in search of their aphid prey.Some people mistake hover flies for wasps or bees because of their black and yellow-striped abdomens and also because they can occur in huge numbers. However, they are actually members of a fly family that have evolved as wasp and bee mimics.

the 10 commandments of beekeeping
from The ABK, July 1995, and all still true today.
1. Use modern and recently made equipment. Efficiency cannot come through old equipment whose service cannot be relied on under all circumstance and which adversely affect quality.
2. Examine hives frequently. Hives should be opened down to the brood nests and examined at frequent intervals. The frequency will vary from two to eight weeks according to the amount of work and productivity cycle. Examinations should follow the QBCBS system (Qeens, Bees, Combs, Brood and Stores).
3. Keep bees contented. Avoid aggression. Cranky bees take longer to settle down after inspections. They are also more likely to commence robbing.
4. Re-Queen regularly. Depending on the quality of the stock, some queens may need to be replaced after one long, strong productive season (9-10 months). Plan to replace annually or at the outside very two years.
5. Prevent swarming. Start with low swarming bees and inspect brood nests regularly when there is plenty of pollen around. Give the queen plenty of room in the brood nest and extract as soon as the combs are filled.
6. Only harvest ripe honey. Extract honey when the combs are at least 90% capped. Some heavy honeys may o down to 75% capped. Be aware of all the factors that will down grade your honey  and other apiary products.
7. Select sites at least three months before occupation. Watch weather reports for several months before booking.
8. Provide shelter from winds and sun in the summer and open sunny sites in the winter, see that water is within a short flight range and no more than a few hundred metres in the summer.
9. Be up to date with bee literature. Find out the latest technology, market reports and industry affairs. Also be active member of your local association.
10. Watch your costs and returns. make regular analyses of all management functions and be prepared to change as costs and returns vary. Have a good working knowledge of what it is costing you to produce a kg of honey and manage a hive.

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

Keith GRAY - - - - - - - - -Berry Creek: Most days - 56688250, 0427688250  -   Beekeeper, Interested in Top Bar Hives 
Swarms YES

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

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

fisher's beekeeping supplies  
Rob & Sharon Fisher (Dumbalk area) 56644323 & 0437501133

newsletter advertising & content
Ads are available to club members only for bee related wares or services
Contact Bronwyn on 0433035143


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
equipment and property manager: David Barton



This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
South Gippsland Beekeepers Inc. · PO Box 817 · Leongatha, Vic 3953 · Australia

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp