South Gippsland Beekeepers Inc. Newsletter
July 2015 Issue #38

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From our President



Another informative and enjoyable evening was had last month with Eric from Better Bee Hives being our guest speaker.  Apart from discussing and displaying his plastic hives and equipment he also was a wealth of knowledge as he also runs 60 hives.  One of the main things I noted was his suggestion of feeding swarms on collection, the benefits being they build up quicker becoming a stronger hive much faster.


Well it is that time of the year again, the AGM has crept up and once the formalities are over, it is always a very enjoyable and fun evening.  We would like to see as many as we can on the night with a wealth of door prizes on offer for those who sign up again on the night. Our theme this year is come dressed in your black and gold finery, which will also attract prizes for those who impress the judges. For what its worth, the presidents black and gold outfit is coming along nicely with the help of my daughter in law Alicia.  At this stage I do feel I am well and truly in the running for first prize.


Anyone wishing to be a part of the committee and would like to know what it involves  speak to anyone currently on committee.  Not a lot of your time is required and you may find the experience enjoyable.


Thanks to all of those who have sold raffle tickets.  Just a reminder to bring them and money raised to the meeting and for those unable to attend please ensure they get to us via another member please.  The raffle will also be drawn on the night.


Hope to see you at our AGM.


Happy Beekeeping,

Steve Lovie

Note from the Editor
Please accept apologies to those who came a week early to the June meeting.
We tried to do everything we could to make sure that the message got through to everyone but alas it was not the case.
Apologies also for the typo in the June Newsletter.
The date for
AGM should have read Thursday 9th July
A weeny teeny Australian Hover Fly - often mistaken for a native bee.
consider aphids to be as delectable as - well - I know! - truffles!
So I think it's fair to say that they are welcome in everyone's garden.
Annual General Meeting 
Thurs 9th July - 
7.30pm - 9pm
July is the AGM
Black and gold/yellow theme - Prizes for best costume! I am so looking forward to seeing the extravaganza of black and yellow - a sea of bee colours - a tsunami in fact, of black & yellow costumes, hats, wings & faces! Yes, that means painted faces are not beyond the realms of possibility. 
There will also be DOOR PRIZES and the major *RAFFLE DRAW.
Please get cracking with selling your raffle tickets and try to flog them to anyone who stands still long enough to open their wallet. "Are you interested in supporting bees and beekeepers?" is always a good line ... or ... "You look like someone who enjoys a good feed. Fancy a whopping great meat tray?"
Come along and join in the fun, cast a vote for your committee, and be in the running for some of the great prizes we have this year.
Don't forget that to be eligible for the door prizes you MUST be a *paid up member on the night.
*Pop over to Peter, our treasurer- he'll be the one 
at the table at the back of the hall rubbing his hands together - He will relieve you of your membership fees and ensure that your payment is noted and your entry into the door prize draw is secured.
Prizes throughout the evening include:
Meat Trays $150, $100 & $50, a Bee Book, A Ladies Pamper-Hamper, a Beautiful Indoor Terrarium and lots more!!
 Please note change of date for the September meeting 
 Meeting date is now Thursday 17th of September
This is due to St Peter's being unavailable on our usual night 

At our August meeting we hope to have Peter Mc Donald return to talk to us further about his beekeeping experiences and his trip to China.

In September the focus of our meeting will be Q&A with 2 groups, beginners and advanced separating to concentrate on subjects closer to the level of experience in each group. Each group will be led by a couple of senior beekeepers. The groups will then come back together for the end of the meeting.

Thurs 13th
7.30pm - 9pm
Special Speaker
Peter McDonald

Thursday 17th

Discussion / Q&A groups
Beginner & Advanced

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.

Plants of the Month

If you have a herb garden with these 4 herbs your bees will just love you for it.

Borage: Borago officinalis
Plant in full sun in early spring. It germinates easily from seed. (Make sure the seeds are organic) Bees absolutely LOVE it! It will grow up to 1m. The gorgeous edible blue/purple flowers refill with nectar every two minutes. Plants will flower for 3 months or longer. It's a great plant for watching the bees and butterflies flitting & tripping from flower to flower all day and summer long. Make sure you have your camera with you too.

Calendula: Calendula officinalis

Plant in full sun to part shade from seed. They can grow up to .8m high. They often naturalise and may become slightly invasive. Calendula often colonise waste ground and thrive in poor soils. They have a long flowering season, almost all year round. Calendula is a useful companion plant for potatoes, beans and lettuce. It is also a healing and Medicinal Herb

Comfrey: Symphytum officinale

Best propagated by division of roots. Plant in permanent position as it may live a long time. Sun or part shade preferred, feed and water it well in hot weather. Pick leaves at the base. Leaves are quite large and should not be planted near smaller herbs as it will rob them of sunlight. Plants can reach .5 high x .4 wide
Comfrey leaves left in a bucket of water until they stink to high heaven make a fabulous liquid fertilizer for your summer veg. 

Oregano: Origanum vulgare
Plant from September - December in full sun. It has low water needs and grows easily. It is shallow rooted and although it likes to be in a sunny spot it does not like to dry out, so mulch it and keep it damp especially when the hot winds are a blowin'. Plants will reach approx .5m x .5m

What is the difference between Marjoram and Oregano I hear you ask! Oregano is essentially the wild form of marjoram.
Poisonous or Unappetizing honeys
Mountain Laurel: Kalmia latifolia
All parts of the plant are toxic and the honey is poisonous to humans.
Privet: Ligustrum vulgare (and other species)
Honey is very strongly flavoured, making it objectionable and unpalatable unless it is blended with lighter honeys.
Ragwort: Senecio species
A rank, bitter-tasting honey
Rhododendron: Rhododendron ponticum (and other species)
Honey is poisonous
Spurge: Euphorbia species
Certain species in South Africa (where the genus is particularly diverse) produce noors (or noorsdorn) honey, which is bitter to the taste, can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, and occasionally poisoning (Flowers all year depending on species).
The CWA Twilighters Meeting
Some time ago Steve was contacted by the local CWA 'Twilighters' group and asked if the club could provide a speaker for one of their meetings. Steve immediately thought of me to take the gig. It seems that once I'm up in front of a crowd I can't keep my mouth shut! Who knew?? Well, most everyone who has witnessed it I think. Anyway, May was the month when this treat was to be bestowed upon this group of ladies and as time went by I had heard nothing from their contact. "Oh, what a shame!" I thought (no I didn't).
If I just sit around and wait perhaps this will all just vanish but alas it was not to turn out that way. I had a phone call on a Monday to inquire as to whether I would still be able to do the talk later that week. Much as I wanted to tell her that I felt a cold or a broken leg coming on I couldn't bring myself to deny her the absolute pleasure that, it must be said, is one of my 'talks'.  However there was one spanner in the works; the meeting was to be in Leongatha and I live in Korumburra and David was away installing a new kitchen in his sister's new (old) house in Nhill (long story) AND I don't drive at night. I was flushed with relief as I realised that I actually DID have an excuse. As I explained my situation to the kind CWA lady she said she would be more than happy to come and get me - and then drop me home later. What the? Who does that? I'm really not THAT good you know, to get a chauffeur. But then I remembered that I had an important appointment late in the day, THAT day. (Cross my heart!)  The kind CWA lady said it was all good. She would wait for me. OH COME-ON NOW. WHO is that nice. Okay I am really not going to get out of this, am I. 
I had 3 days, or something like that, to try to get my thoughts around what I was going to say to these ladies about beekeeping. I had a bit of a framework - it went something like this "When I was little ......" most of you know the rest. The last time I started that way the rest of it poured out of my mouth like the disaster of an overheated and overfilled chocolate fountain that you just can't take your eyes off.
So the night arrived. My appointment was short and I was done in plenty of time for the kind CWA lady to come and get me. She was delightful and we had a lovely chat and a giggle as we tootled off to Leongatha. 
The 'Twlighters' group is thus named, not because they are all about to drop off the twig but because most of them are busy young Mums with jobs and they can't meet during the day. They have their monthly meeting at the pub where some of them get dinner first. I was thankful for this as I was ravenous. Another kind CWA lady was standing with me as I ordered my dinner and she insisted on paying which I thought was, well, very kind. My chauffeur got me a drink so the night had started off very well. 
After their formal meeting it was my turn to speak. I chatted away and had them all completely spellbound. No-one could have been more surprised about this than me I might add. I was thrilled that the yawn count was only 2. I think that was quite an achievement. They asked great questions and were transfixed as I told them how Queens were transported. People just love that vision of a queen being transported in overly capacious accommodation, like the Royal suite on the QEII, with her attendants in tow, a delectable buffet available 24/7, air conditioning and door to door service to her new palace, which is filled with countless thousands of adoring subjects waiting for her with bated breath. I also relayed my story of the TOB's.  
It is possible that I may have been a little graphic with my explanation as to why the 'Tower of Bitches' was so named as a couple of them gritted their teeth and shook their heads vigorously at the thought of being chased by angry bees. I think I succeeded in smoothing it over though. 
Most of them use honey, and a lot of it and were particularly interested in raw honey and the importance of not heating it. A lot of them would love to keep bees but simply don't have the time. One of them has ordered a complete Flow-Hive believing that it will be as easy as turning a tap! I didn't have time to give her the cold, hard facts but did encourage her to stay in contact with our club for any assistance  she needs in the future.
As the evening wound down I sold all six large jars of honey I had brought with me and bought a CWA 'Sweet Slices' cookbook effectively absorbing my profit for the night. 
I was given a beautiful bunch of flowers and was driven home, as promised, by the kind CWA lady. 
by Bronwyn
Leptospermum Study & AFB Kits
Forms to accompany samples are available at club meetings from Bronwyn or through our webpage.
Just go to the Information page and click on the link under Australian Leptospermum Study.

AFB Testing Kits are now available through the club either at club nights or can be picked up from Bronwyn in Korumburra.
Tips for New Beekeepers - Part 2
Checking the Brood Pattern
The brood nest will be situated toward the centre of the brood box or the bottom box. You are more likely to find the queen here, if you want to find her,  where she lays her eggs. A sphere of pollen stores surrounds the brood nest, so when you find a comb containing a large proportion of pollen you know you are close to it. The next frame should start to show what is known as the brood pattern. A queen laying a normal brood pattern will work around the comb in ever-increasing circles. The first eggs will be laid in a patch in the middle and then she will work her way outwards, using the cells that have been cleaned and polished by the house bees. As the eggs hatch and the larvae develop, you will be able to see rings of different ages, culminating in a patch of sealed brood, the final stage of development, at the centre of the nest. As the first adults emerge, the workers clean the empty cells ready for the queen to lay more eggs in them, thus starting the cycle again. When the brood nest is expanding, as the active season progresses from spring into early summer, the first eggs have not completed their life cycle by the time the queen is ready to lay in those cells again, so she will move onto a new comb, thus extending the brood nest outwards. Make a note of the number of frames containing brood, however small the patch, so your records will tell you how the colony is progressing.
from: The Beekeeper's Bible: Steward, Tabori & Chang
Cover Cloths
Some beekeepers use cover cloths to stop bees flying up from the combs during colony inspections.
These are strips of heavy cotton cloth, longer than the width of the hive. A weighty rod wider than the hive is sewn into each end and this can rest across the hive walls. One cloth is placed over the opened box and parallel with the frames. It is then rolled back to reveal the frame you are about to lift out and the top bar of the adjacent frame. After the first and second frames have been inspected, and the second frame replaced and moved along the runners to create a gap, the cloth is rolled back to reveal the third frame. Another cloth is then rolled up and placed on top of the second frame. The first cloth is rolled up and the second unrolled as the inspection continues caress the hive, ensuring that most of the frames are covered over during the operation. 
Cover cloths tend to slow down manipulations but you can try them and decide if they help or hinder you.
from: The Beekeeper's Bible: Steward, Tabori & Chang
Next month the subject of record cards will be coveredincluding the abbreviations and how best to fill them out.
Record cards will become compulsory with the acceptance of the Bio Security Code of Practise in Victoria.
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

New Members:
Daniel Rosen, Daryl Cameron 
Sylvia & Peter Collett
Great to have you all in our club!
Flow Hive Confusion
Forward to my comments in last months newsletter regarding the problems associated with people buying flow hives ... I was thrown an epiphany, a utterly brilliant idea no less. 
At last month's meeting this subject was covered very briefly by Eric (from Better Bee Hives). He dropped a pearl of wisdom on the subject. His suggestion was to include the words Flow Hive in our web page and to provide these as Meta Tags which link to our site when people search for those words. On our web page we then include minimal information about the Flow Hive and the responsibilities of the beekeeper to ensure the health and wellbeing of their bees no matter what form our housing is used for them. Fabulous! Thanks Eric.

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

Pay using direct debit through our website 

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
(The May 2015 issue of the magazine has the entire table of contents for the previous 12 months. This makes finding a particular subject you may have an interest in much easier than having to wade through all of the mags. You can just grab the one you want.)

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:


Our FB page is called
South Gippsland Beekeepers

Other FB pages of interest are
Wannabee? Linking Gippsland farmers and beekeepers
Gippsland Beekeepers