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South Gippsland Beekeepers
March 2019 Newsletter
Issue #74
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President's Report

It is Saturday March 2nd. As I write this my view is tinted by the haze of smoke; smoke from bushfires which are burning from north of us around to the east. Thick smoke hangs above bringing an early dusk. The sun, now just a dull red disc, can still be seen well above the tree-line. 

On Facebook many are posting of their anxiety for the hives they have in the area, in bushland which may have succumbed to the inferno.

I wonder if any of the bees which are caught in the threatened forest areas are waiting for their white suited visitors to come and annoy them, after all they've got the smoke that precedes these visits. They have plenty of smoke alright, but no-one is going to come, not today and not tomorrow. One thing is for sure, those bees will have their bellies full of honey and be ready to evacuate to save themselves. I expect that next week we will begin to hear stories of hives miraculously spared, close calls and sad losses and the same for the properties, homes and animals of those caught up in this widespread fire event.

Is there any way of making your hives bushfire proof? Nope, save keeping them with you in an urban environment. It's all part of the deal. We leave the girls to forage in large floriferous areas and in turn there is the possibility of them being impacted by bushfires. This is no different than if they had housed themselves in the trunk of a tree or hanging under a rock escarpment. 

Our thoughts are with those who hold grave concerns for the many hives which are being kept in all of the bushfire zones.


Last month we had a very successful meeting with a divided Q & A session for the beginners (with Sharon and Graham) and the advanced group (with Rob, Steve & Rob Fransen). These meetings are always popular and valuable for the continued education of our members; a subject we are dedicated to.

I have nothing to report as far as our participation at the Korumburra Show goes. It was a 'baby's bottom' kind of day - Very wet and Very windy! After setup, Colin, Libby, David & myself stayed on for a while and then packed up and went home. It was a shame for our first time attending his show to end up being a no-show-go. 

For our March meeting we will welcome Ben Moore from 'Ben's Bees' who will speak about beekeeping, that much I can guarantee but as for the content of his talk, well, I am quite prepared to sit back, relax and be surprised and entertained. I hope you can come along and enjoy his chat with me.

Beginners Corner will continue to precede each meeting - Any feedback is much appreciated

 

I finish with a non-bee quote from my fav bee expert: the very wise - Winnie the Pooh

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words
but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?
"

Bron Barton: President

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SGB Calendar for 2019
SGB Meetings:
2nd Thursday of each month at St.Peter's Anglican Church Hall Leongatha

Thursday March 14th 7:30pm
Special Speaker: Ben Moore from Ben's Bees
Ben is very active on social media, especially his Website, Blog and on Instagram Facebook, and YouTube
Ben is wealth of information and is kept busy within the beekeeping community from producing honey to mentoring and conducting education sessions within schools.


Thursday April 11th 7:30pm
* Packing Down for Winter with Julian Walker,
* Final Inspection with Paul Godddard,
* Broodminder hive monitoring with Colin Goodwin

As you can see, this meeting is going to be jam packed with great information to help set up your hives for successful over-wintering. There will be plenty of time after each speaker for Q&A
 









 
pic courtesy of Mal Grant
SGB Beginners Corner:
Especially for our younger or new/beginner beekeepers.
Come along from 7:00pm - 7:25pm on meeting nights and participate in a group chat with other newbies.
This session can either be supervised or not as preferred by the participants. 
Share your experiences with others in the group or request a more experienced beekeeper sit in to help with any problems and questions you may have.

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WATCH OUR VIDEO COLLECTION ON YOUTUBE

Latest Bee & Beekeeping News
Sweet Supermarket deal a boost to beekeepers
Wednesday Feb 27th 2019
from QLD Country Hour

A FNQ beekeeper has secured a contract to supply raw, local honey to a major retailer after two years of negotiation.

Video|🎥 61s Audio📻 9.50m

'It's just a disaster':Fires deal massive blow to honey industry
Tuesday 5th Feb 2019

The price of Tasmanian honey is expected to soar this year after dry conditions and fires across the state have conspired to deliver the industry's worst season in 35 years.
"Leatherwood doesn't handle fire, it takes a couple of hundred years to come back."
from Today in the Apiary 
by Eddie Moylan
'Back to the hive with nectar we go ...  '
Research on what happens when the foraging bee returns to the hive has resulted in varying observations over a range of researchers.
 The most outstanding of these research results suggest that the field beee hands its load over to 1,2 or 3 house bees in a matter of minutes, then has a meal of honey before returning to the field within 4-10 minutes.
However, under light field nectar supply some have been known to rest for up to 2 hours before going on another trip.
Under heavier flow conditions field bees have been observed taking their load direct to cells in the brood comb.
If the source of nectar is a new one, after handing over the load of nectar to house bees, the field bee performs the well known dance of the bees.
There are two variations of this dance, one being know as the round dance and the other as the tail wagging dance. The first relates longer distances and the second to nearby sources.
Observers say that bees near these performances become very excited and start flying out before the dance in completed.
Reverting back to the house bees, they store the nectar in the vacant cells found amongst sealed brood. The amount stored is a good indicator of the strength of the honey flow. If we turn such a comb on its side and give it a sharp shake, the amount that splashes out is a measure of the nectar collected on that day.
Nectar is ripened by the addition of enzymes resulting in the conversion of nectar into fruit sugars and the product we know as honey. The evaporation of moisture content is achieved by the fanning of the bees. On a warm calm evening, under heavy flow conditions that occur with our eucalyptus species, the hum of fanning bees is music to the ears of the beekeeper.
The percentage of moisture in nectar varies from plant to plant species and is as high as 70% in some flora. When converted by the bees from nectar to honey, the moisture content is reduced to a nominal 17%, plus or minus a small percent, depending on floral resource.
This conversion process is relatively rapid and is said to commence on the way home and is probably complete after 3 days and upwards. Exceptions are when collected nectar is very thin which can occur in some circumstances.
Bees cap honey with bees wax in the comb under two criteria, one being when the cell is full and the other is when the honey is fully ripened. New caps are domed with air space but due to bee traffic eventually settle down onto the honey which results in a reduction of the attractive whiteness. Producers of comb honey are aware of this and remove frames of sealed honey as early as practical to achieve best results.

Eddie's book is so full of information it's hard to know where to start when choosing excerpts to share. I hope you have enjoyed this one.
Shopping
Frame Holder - Bee Pattern

This very strong frame holder gives you another hand as you do your hive checks. It also doubles as a stencil for decorating your boxes.

Available from Becs Beehive on sale for $40 (rrp $42)
Beeswax Lip Balm

Our lip balm naturally moisturise lips and provides a subtle, healthy shine. Flavours available: Natural, Vanilla, Blueberry & Peppermint.
Available from Hill Top Hives for $7.95
Club Members Advertising
Stan Glowacki

Beekeeping equipment  by appointment

Koala Drive Jeeralang Junction 3840

m: 0413 136 878

h: 5122 2641

Rob & Sharon Fisher

Beekeeping equipment - Intro to beekeeping workshops - Nucleus hives
Dumbalk area

m: 0437 501 133 Rob
M: 0418 502 396 Shazz
Peter Gatehouse

Honey, Beekeeping equipment, Wax dipping, Nucleus hives, Wax products
Phone: 0423 244 107
902 Berry's Creek Road, Mirboo North 3871


 
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