General Beekeeping

Tips for general beekeeping

Moving bee hives from one location to another

If you move your bees more than half a metre they will get lost and buzz around the area the entrance used to be. When darkness falls they may die of cold unable to find the entrance.

Use the following methods

Moving a short distance such as a metre. If you want to move your bees a short distance, say a metre, then move the hive about half the width of the hive every few evenings until you have it in the spot you want. Do this after dark.

 

Moving a short distance but further than a metre. Its probably easier to move your hives at least 3 km away, leave them for 2 - 4 weeks and bring them back into the new position. By moving them 3 km away or more, they re-orientate with their surroundings and re map their new position. See below for tips on moving hives.

 

Moving a long distance. This needs forward planning, so take into consideration the following

Procedure for moving hives

  • The method used can depend on the weather. If it's hot, then sealing the hive/s shut without air circulation for a number of hours could kill your bees. Decide on the method you will use to close the hive entrance. Some use galvanised flat metal, others use wet sponge others use a grid for air circulation, and some don't close the hive entrances at all. If your bees become too stressed from moving this could make them more susceptible to disease such as EFB.
  • You can use a migratory screen instead of a hive lid for good air circulation keeping the bees at a comfortable temperature.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel to travel to where you are going without having to re fuel. Service stations are not too keen on a truck load of bees with open entrances re fuelling, as the bright lights at night will attract the bees out of the hive!
  • Ensure the hive boxes are full of frames so that they don't move and kill bees.
  • Strap hives with an Emlock fastener or spring clips if you are confident they will hold the hive secure.
  • Cover the load with a net to hold it firmly in place, use strong ropes or straps to tie the load down firmly.
  • Make sure the site is ready and prepared for the hives to be dropped off in their new position without keeping the bees locked up longer than necessary.
  • Move them overnight when its cool. Load them late evening (depending on time of the year and weather conditions). When they are in their new position open the hive entrance.
    Have your protective gear with you.

Re-queening

There are a number of reasons why you would re-queen.

  • A productive queen keeps the hive strong and resistant to disease
  • Gives you more honey
  • Less swarming
  • Ggood temperament of bees
  • Replaces an old queen that is not laying well.

You can choose the type of queen you want, you can choose to have a queen resistant to disease, that produces bees that are good at wintering, bees that prefer cool temperatures or bees that prefer hot temperatures depending on where you live. You can choose to re queen in autumn if a hive/s looks weak to help them winter well. Or you can choose to requeen in spring.

 

Order your queens in time.

 

Your new queens will arrive in a queen cage maybe through the mail, and you need to establish her into the hive as soon as possible.

Pollination

Pollination means the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower, the anthers, to the receptive female part, the stigma. More than 40% of our food crops depend on honey bees for fertilisation. No bees, no food.

 

This can be done in a number of ways. Sometimes the pollen is blown by the wind, but most fruit trees need insects to carry the pollen from flower to flower. There are a number of insects that can do this, but the honeybee is very efficient. Honeybees can be managed by beekeepers, that way hives can be put into an orchard at the right time to pollinate the flowers to become fruit.

 

The orchardist must not spray for a few days before the beehives arrive and while the bees are there as this may kill the bees.

Honey bees - Pollination

oney bees travel from flower to flower, collecting nectar (later converted to honey), and pollen grains. The bee collects the pollen by rubbing against the anthers. The pollen collects on the hind legs, known as "pollen baskets, or pollen sacks". As the bee flies from flower to flower, some of the pollen grains are transferred onto the stigma of other flowers.

 

Nectar provides the energy for bee nutrition; pollen provides the protein. When bees are rearing large quantities of brood, bees deliberately gather pollen to meet the nutritional needs of the brood.

 

The management techniques of a beekeeper providing pollination services are different from, those of a beekeeper who is trying to produce honey.

 

Millions of hives of honey bees are contracted out as pollinators and honey bees are by far the most important commercial pollinating agents.

 
Beautiful Gippsland Honey can be purchased through this website by going to the Contact Us link and send an email to Bill Ringin.

According to: Honey bee facts, Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes vitamins, minerals, and water; and it's the only food that contains "pinocembrin", an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning.

Honeys vary greatly in colour, taste and aroma. Generally the lighter the honey the milder the taste. The darker the honey the more distinctive the taste. This is not always the case but is a good guideline. The following list was provided by Sticky Stuckey's Pure Australian Honey.

Sweet

  • Apple Box
  • Blackberry
  • Black Butt
  • Clover
  • Grey Box
  • Manna Gum
  • Orange Blossom
  • Red Box
  • Round Leaf Box
  • Yellow Box
  • White Box

Medium

  • Blue Mallee
  • Grey Ironbark
  • Messmate
  • Mountain Grey Gum
  • Red Gum
  • Red Stringy
  • Snow Gum
  • White Stringy
  • Yellow Gum
  • Yellow Stringy

Distinctive

  • Banksia
  • Bloodwood
  • Leatherwood
  • Salvation Jane
 

It can be used as a natural sweetener and can take the place of sugar in tea and coffee, breads, jams and preserves. Use a mild flavoured honey in teas so that the flavour is not overcome by the flavour of the honey. There are many recipes that use honey try: Capilano Honey

Honey tasting at Royal Melbourne Show

Royal Melbourne Show GAA Stand