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President's Report

Andy Teitge President

Spring is here (allegedly)! We, on the other hand, have finally made it back to my beloved South Gippsland property, where I have been able to check my home hives.  Thankfully, I was able to take part in the last Zoom meeting from hotel quarantine and take in Ally Driessen’s excellent talk on Biosecurity and was thus able to make a better-informed inspection of the girls’ accommodation.  Of pest and disease there was little evidence, although one of the hives was damp and clearly in need of better ventilation, hopefully now sorted.  I was relieved to find my charges had survived the winter without me and were doing well.  As a first-year beekeeper this is a huge relief and definite bonus – maybe we’ll be able to harvest some honey from the home hives this year.  On the next warm day, we will have to drive across to a friends farm to check his hives.This is a different proposition to our girls who are extremely chilled and accepting of our interference.  

Our friend’s bees are, at best, feisty.  If conditions are not warm and the air still, they can be damned right nasty so a decent suit is a must.  On our last visit, my poor wife Paula, received 4 stings! 3 though the suit and one whilst undressing – it was chilly and there was a bit of a breeze.  Clearly the girls were not amused!  His hives were abandoned for five years by a previous apiarist who moved to Adelaide and left them behind.  They are an undisciplined, rowdy bunch who need some sorting – we have so far replaced rotting boxes, removed and burned infested frames and replaced 2 of 3 queens.  Hopefully we can finish the remedial work this year to end up with workable, productive hives.  Why do we do it? For the challenge, satisfaction and, hopefully, honey.

As we are so recently returned from our travels, I will not get into too much club business at this stage, other than to thank the outgoing committee for their longstanding commitment to the club. Likewise, I’m extremely grateful for our new committee members volunteering. We will do our best to make sure the club thrives, fulfils its function as a social forum for apiarists and encourages people take up beekeeping.  

I, for one, am looking forwards to a real, face to face, meeting where we can talk to each other freely and enjoy our hobby together. Until then, enjoy your bees and keep safe.

Andy Teitge (President)

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Table of Contents - this is a long one!
1. President's report
2. Next Meeting
3. Zoom Meeting Invitation
4.100th Newsletter
5. History for Free!
6. Plant of the Month
7. Antimicrobial Honey
8. What is Steritech?
9. Honey Test Forms
10. Steritech video
11. Loads of Honey!
12. Beginner's Course
Next Meeting - (Login below)
South Gippsland Beekeepers
is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: SGB October Meeting
Time: Oct 14th, 2021 07:30 PM Melbourne

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 948 6168 5319
Passcode: 541159
This is our 100th newsletter!
When the SGB began back in 2010 the newsletter was a small publication called 'The Buzz' (I think?) It was started by Rob Fisher who continued it until July 2014 when I took over and dragged it yelling and screaming into the 21st Century with Edition #28. 

For me this was a bit of a dream come true. I just love this stuff. I love being able to talk about bees and research stories. I love being able to let my creative juices run wild and free like a dread-headed hippie running barefoot and minimally clad in a field of wildflowers unencumbered by any fear of insect interference with this burst of joie de vivre. Perhaps overstating things a tad. Nevertheless I have enjoyed each of the 72 - YES seventy-two newsletters (10 per year) that I have produced over the last 7 and a bit years. 

If there is anything you would like me to include in the newsletter please just shoot me an email and I'll do my best to accommodate your request. 

Here are a couple of things that I have dredged up from past October newsletters.
Hope you enjoy them and find them useful.

Cheers to all - 
Should we expect a telegram?

History for Free! - from the October 2015 Newsletter
This article by Colin Goodwin is of particular interest to anyone who is a devotee of the Warré hive and the history of the modern Langstroth hive.
Thanks for this one Colin, I enjoyed re-reading it.
Here is a lovely poem from E. Warré written to his beloved bees:

Before leaving, I would like, dear bees, to carve my name on these leaves, blessed shrub that has taken all its sap from around your dwelling place.
In its shade, I have rested from my weariness, have healed my wounds. Its horizon satisfies my desires for there I can see the heavens.

Its solitude is more gentle than deep. Your friends are visiting it. You enliven it with your singing.
And because you do not die, dear bees, you will sing again and for ever, in the surrounding foliage, where my spirit will rest.

Thank you. E. Warré

Click here to read 'History for Free'
Plant of the month: Verbena Mariesii
From my garden today: Unfortunately the rain has smashed the flowers around a bit but it didn't deter the bees from gathering on it in enormous numbers as they filled their pollen baskets with golden bounty.
ABOVE: The large outer petals are pure white and the flowerlets in the centres are cream with stamens covered in yellow pollen.
ABOVE: The bee on the left shows us her underside covered with pollen. This pollen is easily spread on the subsequent flowers she visits as she walks across each one. 
This really helps us to understand just how efficient these insects are as pollinators.
ABOVE: Not my tree but a magnificent example of Verbena Mariesii with her branches spread out like shelves offering us plates full of beautiful pure white flowers.
Native to Europe, America and North Asia, his tree is very suited to the cooler conditions found in South Gippsland.
Antimicrobial action of honey - put simply
From October 2017 Newsletter

It is well accepted across the entire medical spectrum nowadays that honey can kill micro-organisms. This fact has been known since long before anyone had the ability to grow bugs in a laboratory and consequently experimenting with what substances could control or kill them. Thank goodness modern science has finally caught up with what people and ancient cultures have known for millennia.

One of the enzymes in honey, glucose oxidase, breaks down glucose into gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide (HOOH). HOOH has been and is used to kill germs but as it is effervescent it's action is short lived. In honey the antispeptic action of HOOH takes place slowly and is therefore more effective in killing bugs.

Another advantage in using honey on wounds is the fact that it is hygroscopic, in other words it has the ability to absorb moisture. It is thought that bacteria caught in honey loses moisture into the honey which renders it ineffective and dries it out, killing it.

What is Steritech? - from Oct 2017 Newsletter

Using gamma irradiation and ethylene oxide (ETO) processes, Steritech treats a range of products, including: medical goods; pharmaceuticals and cosmetics; veterinary and pet products; animal feed; inputs for the agricultural and fisheries industries; plastics; packaging; herbs, spices and tropical fruits; and quarantine items. Steritech makes these products safer by destroying pathogens such as insects, bacteria, parasites and micro-organisms.

Gamma irradiation is an effective means of sterilising known disease contaminated bee hive material. This means of sterilisation has proven to be highly effective in eliminating disease.

With AFB being more prevalent than ever it is best for us to be prepared just in case we find AFB in any of our hives. AFB IS A NOTIFIABLE DISEASE.

If you are uncertain or simply wish to be sure of your status then the first thing to do is to send a honey sample to Gribbles Pathology.  Testing kits are available on request from Gribbles. These are free but the testing is not and will cost approx $46.50 for each sample (yard or hive)

Gribbles Honey Testing Forms
If AFB is diagnosed in your hives one of the options available is to have your hives sterilized to kill the bugs causing the infestation. This is done by Steritech who can irradiate your equipment using gamma radiation. The bees in the infected colonies are killed, then burnt or buried under at least 30cm of soil. The extracted combs, boxes, hive covers, bottom boards and queen excluders are prepared for irradiation. After sterilisation the hive materials are restocked with disease-free bees.
Online Steritech Information

For info on how to prepare your equipment for irradiation and to book a treatment:

Call Steritech Merrifield Vic 03 9216 3500

Loads of Honey
Has everyone opened their hives yet? I imagine not as we seem to be having rather narrow windows of opportunity to do so. We took advantage of last Thursday's warm weather and had a look at the three hives we have at home. Boy was there a surprise in store for us!

The 1st hive was great. The top box was full of bees and were boiling over as we lifted each frame out. There was a lot of honey and brood as well as bees.  What a great feeling it is to see at least one of our hives starting off the season so well.

Then the 2nd hive was opened. Check-out the pictures and the video below. This was unprecedented to see so much honey, pollen, brood and such massive bee numbers so early in the season.

The 3rd hive was the least developed of the three but still by no means shabby. There was plenty of everything in this one also.

We agreed that ever since we began beekeeping 10 years ago we have never had such an early start and a strong honey flow at the beginning of the season. You GO girls!
This is hive #2. We got quite a shock when we took the lid off as we saw so much comb and honey already stored in any nook & cranny the bees could find. 
Frame after frame had loads of brood with a great brood pattern
Top and underside of the hive mat was a mass of comb and honey
Top of the frames was a horizontal mass of capped honey
Local Suppliers
Beekeeping Equipment / Wax dipping / Queens
Peter Gatehouse
Phone: 0423 244 107
902 Berry's Creek Road Mirboo North 3871
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Beekeeping Equipment
Stan Glowacki / by appointment
Koala Drive
Jeeralang Junction 3840 
M: 0413 136 878 & H: 5122 2641

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