View this email in your browser

March 2018 Newsletter

                                                                                                Issue  #64

Monthly Meetings

2nd Thursday of the month at
St. Peters Anglican Church, Leongatha:
Everyone welcome.
Pic above: The clover has been abundant this year.
Many club members have enjoyed collecting the delicious light flavoured and coloured honey
that the bees produce when foraging clover. Yum!

2018 Club Calendar

Thursday March 8th 7:30pm
1. Special speaker Rob Waddell is coming to speak and give an update on the findings re: activity in Australian Leptospermum
2. We are also having a honey extraction demonstration.

Thursday April 12th 7:30pm
Packing Down - Speaker TBA

Thursday May 10th 7:30pm
1. Safe Beekeeping Practices 
2. Honey & Mead Tasting Competition


March Newsletter Contents

  • President's report
  • Blue-banded bees
  • Honey production with native bees
  • Bee Swarm in Sydney CBD
  • Tips, Tricks and Hacks
  • Shopping
  • Podcasts
  • Book Review
  • Latest beekeeping health and honey news
     a. Bee Sting Therapy
     b. Propolis Health Benefits
     c. Bee Air Treatment
  • Beekeeping courses
  • Feb ABK Magazine  
  • Club Members Ads
  • Committee & Club Services

Further SGB Access


2018 Calendar

Upcoming Events

GAA Beekeeping Field Day
Date: Sunday 25th March 2018
Darnum Primary School, 6 Graham St
Time: 10.00am - 3.30pm
$10 Entry (Kids free)

 2018 Southern Gippsland Sustainability Festival
Date: 8 April 2018
Time: 10.00am
Location: Wonthaggi State Coal Mine

Follow the link (pic above) to the website with all the info on this year's Bee Congress

President's Report - March 2018

Summer is drawing to a close and the days are certainly starting to have a feel of Autumn about them. Hopefully some of you are still harvesting some summer honey. Remember to leave plenty for the girls and the odd boy though!

Our first meeting in January saw an attendance of 65. I don’t think I’ve seen so many at a meeting, the hall was packed!. The topic for our meeting on Alternative hives I think was timely ,considering the growing interest in different ways of beekeeping. While the majority of our members would have Langstroth hives we still need to cater for those that prefer Top Bar hives, long Langstroth or Kenyan hives for example.

I feel Colin did an excellent job in his presentation bringing into it some facts I certainly wasn’t aware of, while it was good to have Bronwyn and David Barton and Lindsay Oates bring in some personal experience, all be it a little painful at times as David elaborated on!. Beekeeping in shorts is definitely not a good idea!

Speaking of painful I wonder whether Rob Fisher has another painful beekeeping experience to relate to us next meeting????? You do have to laugh…...if you’re not the one in pain!

A big thank you must go to Steve Lovie, Graeme Beasley and Darren Horn for setting up and doing the morning shift at the Foster & District Agricultural Show on Saturday 25th February. Also thank you to Wendy and Greg Caple for doing the afternoon shift with Steve and helping packing up. Apparently the show was a bit quieter this year but we still got a few inquiries throughout the day. The main thing is we were flying the flag.

I’d like to stress that all of our committee are very friendly and approachable and if you feel that you would like to make a suggestion for topics for meetings for example, please don’t hesitate to come and have a chat, it’s helps us immensely if we know what you’re thinking. If you’re still feeling a bit shy we will also be implementing a suggestion box that will be present on club nights that you can place your (constructive) suggestions into. No need to sign your suggestions as we’ll be employing hand writing experts to identify you!!

Happy Beekeeping !
Peter Gatehouse (President)

Blue Banded Bees (Amegilla)

Blue banded bees are one of our most beautiful Australian native bees. They are about 11 mm long and have bands of metallic blue fur across their black abdomens.

Blue banded bees are solitary bees. This means that each female bee mates and then builds a solitary nest by herself. She builds her nest in a shallow burrow in clay soil or sometimes in mudbricks. Many blue banded bees may build their nest burrows in the same spot, close to one another, like neighbouring houses in a village.

Blue banded bees can perform a special type of pollination called 'buzz pollination'. Some flowers hide their pollen inside tiny capsules. A blue banded bee can grasp a flower like this and shiver her flight muscles, causing the pollen to shoot out of the capsule. She can then collect the pollen for her nest and carry it from flower to flower, pollinating the flowers. Quite a few of our native Australian flowers require buzz pollination eg Hibbertia, Senna.

Tomato flowers are also pollinated better when visited by a buzz pollinating bee. Researchers at the University of Adelaide are developing native blue banded bees for greenhouse tomato pollination. It would be much better for our environment to use our native blue banded bees for this purpose rather than introducing European bumblebees to Australia!

photo Carol Webster 2012

Honey Production with Stingless Native Bees

Stingless native bees are primitive species that only produce small amounts of honey. It is only in warm areas of Australia, such as in Queensland and northern NSW, that they can produce more honey than they need for their own survival. Harvesting honey from a nest in a cooler area could weaken or even kill the nest.

In warm areas of Australia, however, honey production is possible with these bees. Hives also can be kept successfully in boxes in these areas and propagated by splitting. Special methods are being developed to harvest moderate amounts of honey from stingless bees in these areas without harming the bees.

Stingless bee honey is called Sugarbag and was prized by Aboriginals who collected it from wild nests. Stingless bees store their flavoursome honey in clusters of small resin pots near the extremities of the nest. The resin adds a wide variety of tangy flavours to the honey, such as lemon or eucalyptus. It is delicious drizzled over ice cream! However, Sugarbag honey is a rare product to be savoured because each hive only produces about 1 kg of honey per year.

For honey production, the bees need to be kept in an especially-designed box so that the honey stores can be reached without damaging the rest of the nest structure. Box designs for honey production provide a separate compartment for the honey stores so that honey pots can be removed without spilling honey into other areas of the nest.
A cluster of honey pots from the Austroplebeia australis stingless bee species.
Austroplebeia australis stingless honey bee.
The small line under the bee is a 1mm measure
Bee Swarm descends on Sydney CBD Motorcycle.
Thanks Robert Spratt for this story: November 2017

Tips, Tricks and Hacks

click on the first 2 images below for the links
These step by step instructions are easy to follow and will give your bees plenty of winter food without the risk of it going off.
If you don't have any fancy equipment and are limited with space then this method of wax melting and cleaning is for you.
It takes a little time and is a little fiddly but is certainly worth considering if you want to have a play with what you can do with your excess beeswax.
Do you have a problem with the irresistible urge to collect egg cartons but have run out of ideas of how to use them?
Why not pop a few in the shed and use them to start your smoker! Experiment with tearing them into small chunks and packing them down as you would with pine needles etc. and see how long they last. It could prove very useful if you run out of paper.
Well hello there! 
Do I have your attention?!!
If you are a bit over getting honey and propolis all over your lovely new leather beekeeping gloves why not get yourself some latex gloves. You'll probably need to make sure that they are a large size to fit over the top. Even cheap thin'ish washing-up gloves will do the job nicely. This is a pretty handy (ha, see what I did there) idea also for working between hives and apiary sites for the bio-security of your bees.
You can wash them in hot soapy water in between hives and when you're finished. Something you cannot do with your leather gloves.
You're welcome. 


click on the image below for the link
NinasBeeShop on etsy has lots of bee related goodies for you to peruse. There are tea-towels, soap, muscle balm, cards and more.
For the BEEK who has everything! How about a bee hotel / house / cottage / habitat! The Woodsman on etsy has heaps to choose from. They would look very attractive in the garden even without insects in-situ.


click on the image below for the link
This is a really good way of keeping abreast with all the latest in beekeeping.
Just play it through the bluetooth in your car and your long drives will be over in a flash as you become engrossed with the many and varied podcasts available.

Book Review

click on the image below for the shopping link
Just in case anyone was interested in doing some reading on Top Bar Hives after our little chat at February's meeting, I have included a link to this book.

If The Barefoot Beekeeper was the harbinger of the 'natural beekeeping' movement, then this is the workshop manual. Together with its companion volume - Balanced Beekeeping I: Building a Top Bar Hive - this book will lead you gently into a fascinating relationship with the most engaging of nature's workers: the honeybee.
The author draws on 15 years of experience with many types of hive in the both amateur and professional beekeeping contexts. You will want this book beside you for years to come!

Buyer review: This book is an outstanding addition to top bar beekeeping. Phil does an excellent job of explaining the critical factors that need to considered for balanced beekeeping and the information can be also transferred to other managed hive systems. After someone has become familiar with the mechanics of beekeeping, this book will greatly explain WHY something is done so harmony and hives best interests are maintained.

Latest Beekeeping, Health and Honey News

click on the image below for the link

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Across China: Bee Sting Therapy Gets China Buzzing

SHENZHEN, Feb. 9 (Xinhua)  Most people run in the opposite direction at the sight of bees, but a few patients in China are volunteering to be stung.

It is a cold morning and She Ruitao is wearing a hat with a veil and two pairs of gloves. He is going to catch live bees on an isolated hill in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

He has raised these bees himself. With a pair of forceps he takes them from their hive and puts them into a glass bottle. Half an hour later, he and 100-plus bees are in his consulting room at Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Hospital.

Catching bees is his first job every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Since last March, he has been offering bee sting therapy to outpatients at the hospital three times a week.

Part natural medicine, part acupuncture, the therapy requires doctors to inject bee venom into points on the patient's body through a live sting.

"Not all patients can be treated with the therapy," he explained.

It is considered a valid treatment for various ailments, in particular, arthritis and rheumatism. Patients need to have X-rays and blood tests before he offers treatment.

Zhan has suffered from arthritis for years. She holds a bee in forceps and uses it to "sting" Zhan on points on his leg. "My swelling has gone down and my pain has lessened," Zhan said.

She does not rely on this type of treatment alone. "Bee sting therapy must be combined with other TCM and Western therapies," he said. Combining TCM and Western medicine has been the norm in China since the 1950s...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Propolis Improves Immunity and Gut Health

How Propolis - AKA 'Bee Glue' can help improve your immunity and gut health.

When you get sick with a cold or flu, it’s pretty standard protocol for your doctor to prescribe an antibiotic. There’s just one problem: Antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria in your system, which can knock your whole microbiome out of balance. (Ever take a (whatchamacallit) a'cillin 💊 only to be rewarded with a yeast infection a couple days later? There you have it.)

Of course, if your illness is minor and you’d prefer some drug-free relief, you’ve got plenty of natural options—take some Vit C, bust out some yoga poses—but perhaps one of the most effective (and under-the-radar) fixes is propolis, a resin-like compound produced by bees.

You might say propolis is  the pocketknife of the wellness world. Not only is it said to have serious immune boosting powers, but it’s also good for your gut and skin. Often called “bee glue”—good to know for when you start Googling—it’s the go-to cure-all for many holistic health insiders. But what, exactly, is it and how does it work? Here, we investigate what all the, um, buzz is about...

Well and Good
Don't forget to take a look at our website now and then for recent bee and beekeeping news stories.
The link is at the top of the newsletter

Facebook is also a really great resource for any questions or problems you need a quick answer or resolution for. People are generally very eager and happy to help.
Answers are often just a few minutes away.
There are a number of Beek Facebook Pages including: Gippsland Beekeepers - Australian Beekeepers

Beehive Air Treatment in Slovenia:

Apitherapy has been known since the Egyptian times, and part of this extensive therapy also comprises beehive air – aerosol treatments. It contains propolis, royal jelly, beeswax and pollen. Inhaling a specific aroma, which is produced in beehives, has an extremely beneficial effect on human psychophysical condition and can take place from April to September. Air, saturated with essential fragrances, helps people with the following conditions:
- Bronchitis;
- Asthma;
- Allergies;
- Chronic lung diseases;
- Susceptibility to infections;
- Weakened immune system;
- Respiratory tract infections;
- Chronic headaches, migraines;
- Stress;
- Depression.
By inhaling a warm beehive air, through a special breathing mask, we consume these precious substances, which have a medicinal effect on a series of conditions. Apitherapy, in a natural way, helps us to overcome many problems and is also more than perfect for athletes, children and the elderly…

So, there you have it! - Clearly this is a callout to anyone wanting to start a new business involving their bees. I think South Gippsland is the perfect place to get this started in Australia. Any takers?
ps: this subject was covered by Amanda Diamond at one of our meetings last year

Beekeeping Courses

Beekeeping Courses are conducted in a number of centres within Victoria.
Beekeeping Courses in Victoria 2018 
This link will take you to a list of participating individuals and clubs. Some offer single day courses, hands-on courses, advanced courses. Have a browse through the list to find something that suits you. If you cannot find the course you are looking for, the Victorian Apiarists Association should be able to help you and are contactable through the link on the VAA Website.

February ABK Magazine

This Mag is available from our library. The latest addition is a corker and includes:
  • In the Apiary; Autumn husbandry: by Des Cannon - well worth reading!
  • Cooking with honey - with delicious recipes
  • Varietal honeys - are worth the bother: by Ann Harman
  • Info on bees antibiotic resistant genes
  • The ethics of honey selling
  • Field guide to beekeeping: A seven page article from the American Bee Journal
  • How do bees develop travel routes
  • Queen Mandibular Pheromone

The Bunyip Beekeeper

Our Beekeeping Supplies Shop is open in Pakenham Victoria 7 days per week until Winter
Factory 4/18 Bormar Drive Pakenham Vic 3810
Open Hours: 9am to 5:30pm - 7 Days per week.

Ph: 0487 100 001 -

fb:  the bunyip beekeeper
w: The Bunyip Beekeeper

Hill Top Hives (Mirboo North)

Please call for prices on services available e.g. swarm/hive removals, wax dipping and  equipment costs.
Contact: Peter Gatehouse 0423 244107 

fb: hill top hives
w: Hill Top Hives

Blue Tree Honey Farm

Farm gate sales store for your beekeeping supplies, honey, jams, café & devonshire tea.

For opening hours/days check on 

fb: blue tree honey farm
w: Blue Tree Honey Farm

m: 0418502396

Rob & Sharon Fisher (Dumbalk area) 


Jeeralang Apiary Supplies 

Stan Glowacki
60 Koala Drive
Jeeralang Junction
51222641 & 0413136878

2017/2018 SGB Club Committee


President: Peter Gatehouse
Vice President: Colin Goodwin
Vice President 2: Graeme Beasley
Treasurer: Peter Galt
Secretary: Margaret Gatehouse
Member: Julian Walker
Member: Kylie Pollard
Member: Rob Fransen
Member: Lorrae Hamilton

Other Positions:
Swarm Co-ordinator: Julian Walker - 0413 252128
Equipment Officer: David Barton - 0433 035144
Newsletter & Website Editor: Bron Barton - 0433 035143
Copyright © 2018 South Gippsland Beekeepers Inc., All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp