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South Gippsland Beekeepers

July 2019 Newsletter
edition #78
President's Report

Hi Everyone,

Wow, we've had a few very cold mornings this winter but isn't it interesting to see that the bees are still out and about. I do a round trip of the garden every morning after I let the chooks out and check our 5 hives along the way. The mornings have been down to about 1 degree, although it has warmed up a bit by the time I get out there, and yet some hives will be flying out. Some won't too and sit there as motionless as, um, well, as motionless as a box of bees warming their butts by the weeny Coonara. It's like us I guess on a cold morning when there's no milk in the fridge and only a crust of bread left. But we make do with powdered milk with a 'use-by' of around 1998, a rather old muffin suffering from freezer burn or an egg with a Salada. Anything will do if it saves us from having to get into a freezing car to go and buy something to eat.

I have so much admiration for those little ladies who do venture out and somehow, from somewhere they come back with a moderate amount of pollen on their legs. In my garden we can see them foraging on about 3 plants (pictured below) but it's by no means all of our bees, so they are flying further afield, goodness knows where and on what. Wish I could follow them as see. And what about that FIRST bee, the scout who has gone out on a reconnoissance mission with the good of the whole hive on her shoulders. What a star, what a little trooper, bless her cotton socks. God I love bees.

Happy Beekeeping everyone

Bron Barton

p.s. All of our grandchildren know a fair bit about bees and have seen many macro bee photos around the place. We had 3 of the grandchildren in the car yesterday, on our way to Inverloch to search for dinosaur footprints (didn't find them) and Miss Almost Six said, out of the blue and to no-one in particular, in her sweetest most adorable voice .. "I just love your hairy eyeballs". 

Newsletter Contents:
  • Presidents Report
  • New club email addresses
  • AGM
  • Raffle Tickets
  • Vic Beekeeping Clubs Conference
  • Hive Record Keeping
  • Bio-Security Code of Practice
  • Propolis
  • Disease Prevention Strategies
  • Q & A
  • Mentors List
  • Beekeeping News
  • Club Merchandise
  • Social Media
  • Contacts
  • Advertising
Please note that the club email addresses have changed: -
for all matters specifically for the president 
e.g: enquiries re the running of the club, complaints and website and newsletter issues. -
for all general enquiries and communications -
for all financial communications eg: payments and claims
So it's time for the AGM again. I would urge everyone to consider spending a little time on the committee. The commitment is for 1 year at a time with 4 committee meetings during this time, which can be quite fun, and a fairly minimal amount of work needed aside from that. This is entirely up to the person however and how much time they WANT to put into the job. President, VP Treasurer and Secretary do require more time but that's fine too, as anyone stepping up to those positions will be aware of the extra commitment needed.
This club is for all of us and it's important that it works the best it can for all of us. The best way to ensure that this is the case is to get plenty of diverse opinions and ideas on our committee. Fresh blood is needed regularly to keep the fresh ideas flowing and to prevent things from becoming stagnant and boring. I have seen this happen to other clubs with the 'same old same old' members doing the 'same old same old' stuff year in, year out. The result?? Yep, bloody boring meetings and a savage decline in memberships. BUT that's not us, right?!! No way Jose!
Nomination forms have been emailed to you and I would just ask that you give it your consideration. Thank you.
Beginners Corner meets in the foyer prior to each meeting from 7pm. 
July 11th
* Raffle Draw * Fancy Dress *
* Best Decorated Hive *
* Door Prizes *


'Jobs in the Hive'
Lets see all of those nurses, builders, guards, foragers etc

Prizes will be given for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place

Not into fancy dress?
This new section may be right up your alley!

Most Creative Decorated Hive Box 🎨 

The only requirement is for a wooden
full depth hive box.
Prizes will be given for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place

NOT the one pictured above!


We have - WITHOUT A DOUBT - The BEST AGM going around!!
You will not be disappointed.

All financial club members will receive a single ticket for the door prize
and families will receive 2 tickets. 

Raffle Tickets
The raffle to be drawn at the AGM July 11th just prior to the conclusion of proceedings to make 
sure everyone has plenty of time to get a ticket.
Tickets are $5 each
1st Prize: 15lt Wax Melter from AU Wax Melters
2nd Prize: $50 gift cert/ Jeeralang Apiaries - Stan Glowacki
3rd Prize: $50 gift cert/ Hill Top Hives - Peter Gatehouse
4th Prize: $50 gift cert/ Fisher's Beekeeping Supplies - Rob Fisher
You can take ticket books (10 tickets each) but the stubs and payment MUST be returned to any committee member or by post
Good Luck to you all!
2019 Victorian Beekeeping Clubs Conference - Essendon 

Around ten SGB members attended the conference this year. The Conference was well run, interesting and informative. 
The cost was $125 - $150 pp which included morning tea & lunch.
This conference is a good source of useful information which can help you in your beekeeping ventures or simply feed your hunger for more knowledge regarding bees. 

A number of speakers took part throughout the day covering quite a variety of subjects. 

Over the course of the next few newsletters I will include a short summary of a few of these speakers.
left: Dr Ben Oldroyd - Professor of Genetics, University of Sydney

Prof. Ben Oldroyd - I have heard Ben speak twice and both times he was extremely entertaining and conveyed his knowledge effortlessly, bringing it down from the lofty levels of scientific research to the understanding of everyday beekeepers.  


In a nutshell: Ben discussed the timing of mating flights: This occurs when the queen is 5 days old. Changes in gene expression in her brain make her attracted to light and eager to fly. At about 2.30pm, she leaves her colony and searches the vicinity for a Drone Congregation Area.

The characteristics of Drone Congregation Areas: They are in wide open spaces surrounded by trees. Suburban footy ovals are almost always DCA’s. Drones will fly 3.75km to get to a DCA. Ben suggested throwing a pebble into the air to watch the drones flock to it en-masse. 

The queen will mate with 30 - 50 males, which turn inside out and die instantly as they mate. The queen stores the sperm of each male, and never mates again.

There will be hundreds of drones in a DCA. Why so many? Inbreeding will create spotty brood. The bees sense that there isn’t enough diversity and dispose of unwanted brood. 

Research suggests that different fathers will create different jobs in the hive including temperature control and trends in hygienic behaviour.

Honey production with genetic diversity is better.

The conclusion is that lots of drones are needed for the healthy continuance of bee colonies. 

In general queen breeders mate their queens bearing this in mind and are doing a good job in providing diversity.

Hive Record Keeping
Good record keeping is essential to good biosecurity as it allows for tracing the source of a disease outbreak or pest incursion.
Download hive record cards ☞🔘

Download hive record abbreviations ☞🔘
These cards are A5 landscape format. It is best to print them onto card rather than photocopy paper.

With regard to hive record keeping; while it is important that enough data be captured, this does not need to be a difficult or time consuming process. The mode of data collection, whether it be manual or digital, is irrelevant as long as it provides the information required by the Code.

REQUIREMENT - from the Bio-Security Code of Practice (link to download below)
5.1 All beekeepers must keep legible records of:
(a) The dates of all apiary inspections and observations from the inspections including an assessment of the overall strength of the hives in the apiary, any pests or diseases found in the hives and the method used for detection of arthropod pests specified in Part B 3.2.
(b) Details of all actions taken to manage any pests or diseases in the apiary.
(c) Details of sampling method, date(s) of collection, testing body and the results of all honey tests or other independent assessments for the presence of American foulbrood.
(d) Details of movements of hives (including swarm catch boxes); including dates, numbers, geographic locations.
(e) Details of introductions of any bees and used hives or hive components (with or without bees) from external sources; including the date of introduction and the supplier or source.
(f) Details of biosecurity-related training by the beekeeper and any employees of the beekeeper.

5.2 Records may be paper-based or electronic.
5.3 Records must be retained for a minimum of three (3) years

Interpretation of the Code

The Code contains elements that a beekeeper must do and some elements that a beekeeper should do.

Where ‘must‘ is used, industry will be seeking agreement from governments to mandate (regulate) these sections of the Code so that a beekeeper will have no discretion about complying – failure to comply with a ‘must’ will be an offence that may render the beekeeper liable to be fined or prosecuted. These are identified in the Code as a ‘REQUIREMENT‘.Where ‘should‘ is used, this is considered highly desirable or best practice and beekeepers are strongly encouraged to comply with the element. It is not, however, mandatory and failure to comply will not be illegal. These are identified in the Code as a ‘RECOMMENDATION‘ and are grouped in PART D.

Download the Code

Australian Honey Bee Industry Biosecurity Code of Practice

The Code of Practice is also available in Greek and Arabic

What is propolis?

Propolis is a sticky resinous substance collected from different kinds of trees and plants. The bees mix in substances derived from pollen and active enzymes to form a potent naturally therapeutic substance. Over 180 distinct compounds have been identified in propolis with researchers expecting to find more. The concentrated plant-derived essential oils are thought to be mainly responsible for the product's therapeutic properties.
How do bees use propolis?

Honeybees use propolis to keep their homes dry, cosy and hygienic. It is used to seal any cracks or gaps where microorganisms could flourish and to decrease the size of nest entrances, making the easier to defend. To collect it bees bite off scraps of plant resin a unpack them into the pollen baskets on their hind legs. They only collect it when it is above 10C and they can only carry  about 20mg in one journey, so propolis gathering is a slow business.

Did you know?

Brood cells are varnished with a thin layer of propolis before the queen lays eggs in them. I would love to know the reason for this. Wax is waterproof so that can't be it. What special property is in propolis that it is entrusted with painting the walls of the nursery?
Q & A

Q: How much spare equipment should I have?

A: It always makes sense to have some spare equipment, either for additions, replacements or emergencies. If you have a ready source locally, then don't bother too much about it. In the early stages it makes sense to have a spare floor, brood box and at least enough frames to fill it. Foundation is worth stocking, but make sure you keep it so it doesn't easily deteriorate. eg: It must be kept out of the sun/heat and in an airtight container/plastic bag, so that wax-moth can't get into it.

Q: Where do I get help from if I need it in a hurry?

A: It depends what help you need. If you think you may have a notifiable disease, then contact your local Bio-Security Officer, *Jessica Hartland or call the


Identification of diseases is taught by your Beekeeping Club once a year and is available to watch on our *YouTube channel . If you need other help in your early stages, then contact a mentor from our *Mentor's List . You may find answers to some of your questions on the club *website or *facebook group
Links and info to all *above are in the newsletter, below.

Mentors List

Peter Gatehouse - Mirboo Nth - 0423 244 107
Willing to help with onsite Problems or guidance / Swarms

Ron Irwin - Mirboo Nth - 5668 1323
Beekeeper / Swarms 6pm - 9pm

Stan Glowacki - Jeeralang Junction - 5122 2641 m: 0413 136 878
Beekeeper & Keeper 9am - 6pm

Bill Ringin - Moe - 5633 1326
Hobby Beekeeper / Swarms - Any day until 10pm

Dennis Roberts - Foster - 5682 2339
Professional Beekeeper / Swarms Mon - Fri - 9am - 6pm 

Rob Spratt - Leongatha Sth - 5664 2358
General Beekeeping / Swarms 8am - 9pm any day

Dave & Bron Barton - Korumburra - D: 0433 035 144 B: 0433 035 143
General Beekeeping / Swarms - 10am - 10pm
Beekeeping News - Around the country

Tassie Beekeepers seek access to remote forests
June 29th 2019
Australia's island state is the only place in the world where leatherwood honey is produced, but dry conditions last summer caused leatherwood flowers to wilt and bees to starve to death, resulting in a huge production decline for the industry.

Bee pollination a race between native and European honey bees while researchers watch on
June 19th 2019 NSW Country Hour
Which bee is the best pollinator — native or European? It is a question researchers are keen to answer.
Club merchandise will be at the July Meeting

SGB Club Polo Shirts:
Made from quality, air-wicking fabric.
There are still some sizes available for sale
There will be sizes at meetings to try on before ordering.

pic. Bron is wearing the Medium which  is equiv. to Ladies12/M

SGB Club Hoodies:
Our new winter hoodies are warm and comfortable with gold trim a kangaroo pocket, bright club logo and lined hood.There are still quite a few for sale in a variety of sizes. Mens: S, M L & XL.
There will be sizes at meetings to try on before buying or ordering if we run out of stock.

pic. Bron is wearing the Small which is equiv. to Ladies12/M
Social Media links for the South Gippslandbeekeepers
Website Website
Email Email
Facebook Facebook
Instagram Instagram
YouTube YouTube
Jessica Hartland, Bee Biosecurity Officer Agriculture Services & Biosecurity
Operations. 324 Campbell St, PO Box 501, Swan Hill, VIC. 3585
Ph: 035036 4810 Mob: 0447 245 558
Rob & Sharon Fisher
Honey - Beekeeping equipment 
Cafe - Markets
Intro to beekeeping workshops - Nucleus hives
m: 0437 501 133 Rob
m: 0418 502 396 Shazz
Dumbalk area
Peter Gatehouse
Honey - Beekeeping equipment
Wax dipping - Nucleus hives
Wax wraps - Lip Balm
m: 0423 244 107
902 Berry's Creek Road,
Mirboo North 3871
Stan Glowacki

Beekeeping equipment for sale:  by appointment

Koala Drive Jeeralang Junction 3840
m: 0413 136 878
h: 5122 2641
Copyright © 2019 South Gippsland Beekeepers Inc., All rights reserved.

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