South Gippsland Beekeepers

February 2020


Edition #83

Burnt out hives in NSW

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President's Report
Hi Everyone,
It is with a certain amount of sadness that I welcome everyone back to our monthly newsletters. As you can see from the header picture, the loss of beehives to bushfires which have burnt across 6 states is uppermost in our minds as the fires continue to burn in Gippsland. One Beekeeper alone in the Grafton area lost 800 hives!
I thought I would appraise myself of the updated number of hives which have been lost so I 'googled'  how many bee hives have been burnt - Sadly, the list of links went on and on.
  1. Kangaroo Island bushfires may have destroyed a quarter of island's Ligurian beehives
  2. Australia fires: More than 10,200 bee hives burnt | The Weekly Times
  3. Bee health: Bushfires wipe out hives and impact on bee health | The Weekly Time
  4. Bees lost in bushfires, suffering in smoke | The Land
  5. 'Nowhere For Our Bees To Go': Bushfire, Drought ... - 10 Daily
See what I mean!
(I can't link you to the Weekly Times articles as you need to be a subscriber in order to view the stories.)

You may recall that I sent out an email to our members reminding everyone of the SGB's Beekeeper Assistance Program which would be available to any members who are in need of help or temporary re-housing of bee hives. To this point I have had many people offering the use their land but no beekeepers who have asked for help. I hope this is a good sign.

To happier things:
How has your 2020 honey season been so far? Hopefully it has seen many of you harvesting lots of honey (which is just a nice way of saying pinching it really) from your little ladies. Please let me know about your bumper crops and honey dearths too - all these stories make up the interesting world of beekeeping. 

Our first meeting for the year is Thursday February 13th where we will hear about -
  • Harvesting from Hives 
  • Use of Honeycomb Crusher 
  • Clearer Boards 
  • Wax Processing 
  • General Q & A.
Please bring along your questions and stories of your 2020 honey season so far.

Hope to see you there.

Bron Barton (President)

❝ Has a bee ever landed on you, and instead of getting scared, 
you appreciated the 
possibility that she mistook for a flower Anon
Table of Contents:
  • President's report
  • 2020 calendar
  • Plant of the month
  • Summer management - Keep your colonies cool
  • How bees stay cool on hot summer days
  • Sign up for the BeeAware Newsletter 
  • Pics from Christmas Breakup and Meet the Bees field day
  • I need your help!
  • Bees & bushfires don't mix - article
  • Latest News
  • Recommended Beekeeping Books
SGB Calendar for 2020
SGB Meeting
2nd Thursday of each month at
ST.Peter's Anglican
Church Hall 

Meeting: Thursday Feb 13th 7:30pm
Topics: Harvesting from Hives - Use of crusher and clearer boards - Wax processing - Q & A

Meeting: Thursday March 12th 7:30pm
Topic: To bee announced.
SGB Beginner Beekeeping Course 

Friday Feb 21st 7.00pm - 9.30pm & Sat Feb 22nd 12md - 4.30pm

SGB Beginners Corner
Will be running again next meeting.
This is especially for our new/beginner beekeepers to participate in a group chat with other newbies.

From 7:00pm-7:25pm on meeting nights


Plant of the Month
Persoonia pinifolia has grown very well in our Korumburra garden. Our soil is slightly acidic and rarely dries out completely. As you can see, this shrub is around 2m.↥  x 3-4m. ↔︎.It requires no care whatsoever and has never been pruned. It flowers prolifically in Jan/Feb each year and lasts well as a cut flower. More details below.
Persoonia pinifolia is a species of the Proteaceae family. It is naturally found growing in the sandstone region of the Sydney basin.
It is commonly referred to as the Pine-leaved geebung or The Australian Christmas tree because it commences flowering around Christmas time and has “pine tree” like leaves.
Some of the bees carry pollen away with them after a visit to the bush and others do not so I have surmised that they get both pollen and nectar from the flowers. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Read More


Summer Management 
from NSW Dept of Primary Industries by Nadine Chapman

It’s getting hot hot hot, and so are your bees! Extreme heat can melt beeswax, kill brood or even the entire colony.

Keep your colonies cool

Site location: ideally your site will provide some shade during the hottest part of the day, but not early morning

Hive: bees require less effort and energy to keep white hives cool than they do for any other colour. For those with only a small number of hives placing foam insulation on top of the lids will help keep them cool

Water: make sure there is water available ideally within 200 meters, preferably before you commence using an apiary, as bees may not switch to another water source once they have found one. Bees can use more than 1L of water a day to keep cool

Inspections: do not open the hive during the hottest part of the day; consider postponing until the weather is cooler

Ventilation: place colonies off the ground, ensure the air vents aren’t blocked

Read More
And from Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences -
How bees stay cool on hot summer days
- Detecting the ventilation strategy of honey bees.
Read More
The above 2 articles are from the December 20th
BeeAware Newsletter
If you would like to read the whole newsletter or sign up to be on the mailing list please use the blue link above.
On our website there are pics from our Christmas Breakup including our visit from SANTA - YES, you read that correctly! If you didn't come you missed out on seeing the great man himself.
Plus pics from our 'Meet the Bees' field day last November

If your bees, or someone else's for that matter, are foraging on any flowering trees, shrubs of smaller plants in your garden, I would love to come and take some photos for a project that is in the pipeline.

I can't say much more than that at the moment but as soon as it is finished you will all be amongst the first to learn about it. 

Call or text me with the name or a pic of the plant/flower, so I'm not doubling up.  

0433 035 143 
Bees and Bushfires Don't Mix
This excerpt from an article in December 2017 with NSW beekeeper John Scott
"One of the issues with both hazard reduction and wild fires is that the spring flowers and blossoms — a vital source of food for bees after winter — can get burnt out in certain areas," Mr Scott said.
"Bees will only fly a few kilometres from the hive, so if the flowers are gone from within their range, that's a problem, and then it could take years for the flowers to re-establish in that area.
"Smoke from fires can also have a significant impact on bees, triggering a defence mechanism causing them to engorge themselves with honey and swarm from the hive, then you've lost your colony."

If the bees do not leave the hive in time, it can become full of smoke, suffocating them.

"When it comes to bees, I believe a hazard reduction burn will always have a less significant effect than a wild fire," he said.

"For example, while the hazard burn might take out the understory, if it's cool enough, the tree canopy will not be affected, allowing the blossoms to flourish.

"Worst case scenario with a wild fire, it will come through quickly incinerating all vegetation and directly impacting the hives."

Read More
Latest News
Drought and fire having devastating impact on honey production
Updated Jan 16th 2020
from ABC rural

Shoppers are already paying the price
Video 🎥 5m 49s

Beekeepers want more access to unburnt national parks

January 10th 2020
from ABC Rural

Beekeepers mount a campaign for greater access to flowering gums in national parks, to keep their starving bees fed after the fires.
NSW National Park Beekeeping Policy
About a quarter of Kangaroo Island's beehives may have been lost in bushfires
January 7th 2020

Apiarists estimates about 1,000 of the island's hives have been burnt in bushfires that have devastated the western half of the "bee utopia".

The disturbing image of a damaged beehive after devastating fires ripped through the bush on Kangaroo Island SA.

from ABC Rural
The Ligurian Bees of Kangaroo Island
Recommended Beekeeping Books
Song of Increase by Jacqueline Freeman (2019)
Within these pages is a bee-centric approach to living with honeybees, rather than advice for simply maximizing the products they provide. Jacqueline Freeman takes us beyond traditional beekeeping and offers a way to work in harmony with honeybees for both their good and ours. "Our way is one of kind observation," she explains, "where we create supportive homes and fields for bees to live in, as well as tend the heartfelt relationships we form by being together." Freeman illuminates the unity consciousness that guides every action in the colony and how this profound awareness can influence the way we see both the natural world and ourselves.

Available from Booktopia for $22.75
The Australian Beekeeping Manual by Robert Owen (2015)
This large hard-cover manual is the most contemporary book of it’s kind available at present.
It covers all of the required information for beginners with a four page contents section outlining 19 chapters in all. As well as all the usual information you would expect a book for beginners to cover it also contains chapters on: preparing honey for sale, sustainable beekeeping, the bee friendly garden and native bees. This book is being included as the Beginner Beekeeping textbook to students attending some Beginner Courses

Available from Angus & Robertson for $36.80
Australian Stingless Bees by John Klumpp (2007)

A valuable handbook for anyone interested in keeping our native honeybees.

This detailed, easy-to-read book guides you through all aspects of the hobby -- from understanding the inner workings of your nest to caring for your own stingless bee or 'sugarbag' colony.

It covers the basic beekeeping techniques used in Australia today, but also features John Klumpp's own unique designs for hives and hive accessories.

Available from Booktopia for $38.84
Club Member Advertising
Beekeeping equipment. By appointment

Stan Glowacki
Koala Drive Jeeralang Junction 3840 
0413 136 878
5122 2641

Beekeeping Equipment /Farm Gate Store

Rob & Sharon Fisher
0437501133 / 0418502396

Hill Top Hives

Peter Gatehouse
Phone: 0423 244 107
902 Berry's Creek Road Mirboo North 3871
Copyright © 2020 South Gippsland Beekeepers Inc., All rights reserved.

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