Mid North Coast newsletter - July 2016

THE BEE LINE          

Newsletter of the Mid North Coast Amateur Beekeeping Association                                             

  • President :  Marcus Lewis
  • Secretary : Peter Dickson-Smith
  • Treasurer:  Mal Banks       
  • Public Officer : Marcus Lewis
  • Newsletter :  Mal Banks
  • Vice Presidents :  Allan Thomas, Paul Campbell, Keith Harris             
  • Librarian: Fay Karabaic

JULY  2016

Last Meeting

The last meeting was held at the home of our President Marcus and partner Julie on Sunday10th July at Sandy Beach.

As is so often the case in July, the weather was perfect, and the meeting was well attended with 36 present.

After a cuppa ot two, Marcus opened up his sole hive. The bees were active and in great numbers, but also in a friendly mood. It has been a good winter for honey production, but I'm not so sure if that is such a good thing in winter. Marcus's hive was full of honey, not surprisingly as there has beena lot of trees flowering, such as paperbarks and ironbark.

The brood was healthy and the hive was certainly strong, perhaps just needing a bit more space for the bees.

Marcus bravely wore no gloves or sleeves, copped a few stings and gave everybody a good look at the hive and the brood frames. There were no signs of any disease or disorder.

Many bees

Before lunch the raffle was drawn and we had some members give talks on various matters.

Firstly Ross Wood gave a talk and demonstration on the use of metal guard strips placed between the bottom board and brood box to prevent the entry of small hive beetle. They work like ant cappings, stopping hive beetles but not restricting access for bees. This looks like a good method to stop hive beetles and is a work in progress.

Don Wood then gave a quick instruction on the use of a sugar shake for detecting Varroa Mite. This is a passive method of detecting varroa and other mites. As you are aware mites were found in Townsville recently on Asian bees. Like Townsville, Coffs Harbour is a port so local beekeepers need to be aware.

It is quick and easy and bees are not harmed. The sugar stops the mites from sticking to the bees and it also encourages grooming behaviour in the bees. The sugar is then separated from the bees and the mites can be examined. About half a cup of bees are added to the icing sugar. Use bees from 3 different central brood frames, making sure you do not have the queen. Return the sugar coated bees to the front of the hive where they'll get a good licking. If varroa mites are found report to authorities immediately.

John Carroll gave a talk on steel mesh ventilated floors for the brood box. This provides ventilation to the hive and the bees can chase the small hive beetles out through the mesh and intoa pan of oil or lime.

Marcus' suburban apiary

After lunch a short business meeting was held.

Welcome to new members! Yes our club is still expanding.

The apologies were read, and the minutes of the last meeting and the treasurer's report were available for perusal.

Matters arising:

* Ross Wood reported that he had spoken to Wayne Fuller re a visit to his large commercial apiary at Clarenza near Grafton. It was proposed that this visit would be a joint one with the Northern Rivers club. Probably in September,  October or November. To be discussed next meeting.

* Apithor traps are still available for sale, and shortly we'll havesome more foundation for sale.

* To provide shade and shelter from wet weather it was proposed that two gazebos could be bought for the club, with a budget of approximately $200

* Marcus discussed the future possibility of the club having its own apiary with a clubhouse/workshop somewhere in the Coffs Harbour area.

It is with sad regrets that the club lost one of our former members recently. Bill Zac was a keen apiarist, it was unfortunate that his health in his latter years did not allow him to participate in more of the club's activities. Our sympathies go his wife Anne.

I would like to thank Frank and Fay for their contributions to the newsletter over the years. It makes the editor's job so much easier.

Anybody who has any stories, news articles, anecdotes or anything else about bees or honey or the club, please don't hesitate to forward them to me, for the newsletter.    


Now that the cold weather is over you may do a bit more manipulation with the hive but take the precaution of not leaving brood out too long.

Bees may not be progressing in some hives.  Check the population and brood pattern.  Make sure the queen is present.  If you can’t find her, look for eggs or young brood.  Check if bees have stores of honey and pollen.  Examine all brood combs for signs of disease.

Make sure strong hives don’t become overcrowded or start queen cells.  Sometimes bees are determined to swarm but much can be done to prevent it.  Enlarge the entrance if it has been restricted.  Give foundation as this is the time bees like to build rather than store honey.

This time of the year strong hives can be split but don’t be too ambitious causing your strong hive to become weak.  Consider the prospects for honey, pollen and the weather over the next few weeks.  If nothing is coming in the hives won’t prosper, bees won’t build new comb and foundation will be chewed and warped.  Be a good observer.



Seasonal Management


  • Inspect the colony for disease
  • Inspect for presence and condition of the queen, and order new queens, if needed. You can re-queen in late spring
  • Prepare materials for catching a swarm
  • Prepare to minimise swarming in your own colony
  • Introduce new combs(if there is an expected nectar flow)
  • Split the colony to reduce congestion
  • Split colonies to increase hive numbers

Ref. Bee Agskills-NSWDPI

Creamed Honey

Creamed honey is prepared by aerating 6 or 7 parts of liquid honey together with one part of creamed or finely candied honey. The creamed honey acts as a starter on which the crystals grow; this action holds the small air bubbles in place, giving a white or creamy colour to the finished product. A variety of mixing devices can be used, although they need to be heavy duty.

After whipping,  the honey must be bottled quickly and placed in the freezer where it remains for a few days before being stored in a normal refrigerator at 10°c to 14°c for a couple of weeks. At this temperature the crystals continue to grow, locking in the air bubbles so that the product is uniform and does not settle out. In hot weather, keep the creamed honey refrigerated as it will separate into an unattractive liquid and froth.

(‘The bee book’- Peter Warhurst& Roger Goebel)

Honey, soy and ginger glazed pork ribs


  • 5cm piece ginger, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (175g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) Chinese rice wine (shaohsing)
  • 1 tbs sweet chilli sauce
  • 1.4kg pork ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • Coriander sprigs and lime wedges, to serve.


  1. Combine the ginger, garlic, soy, honey, rice wine and sweet chilli sauce in a large zip-lock bag. Add the ribs, seal the bag and shake to coat the pork thoroughly. Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove the ribs from the bag, reserving the marinade, and place on a rack set over a roasting pan filled with 1cm water. Roast for 35-40 minutes until caramelised and golden. Remove the pork from the rack and set aside, loosely covered with foil, while you make the glaze.
  3. For the glaze, place the marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat with any juices from the roasting pan. Bring to the boil, then allow to bubble for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is sticky, watching carefully to ensure it doesn’t burn. Brush the glaze over the ribs.
  4. Serve the warm ribs with coriander and lime wedges.

Ed – source Delicious magazine

Bees In Science 1)

Wild birds 'come when called' to help hunt honey.

In Sub-Saharan Africa honeyguide birds fly aheadof honey hunters and point out beehives for the hunters to raid. In return the birds get the bees wax to eat.

 A new study shows that the birds are listening out for specific calls made by the human honey hunters.

The hunters find much more success with the aid of the birds, hence they call out for the birds.

For the full story go to the following web page.


Bees In Science 2)

 Do Bees have Regional Accents?

Scientists at the University of Cardiff are keen to discover if bees have accents, buzzing at a higher or lower pitch depending on their location.

Researchers are inviting beekeepers to place recorders on their hives to pick up the sounds of the bees so they can pick up regional variations.

The Cardiff scientists have asked more than 3,000 Welsh beekeepers, to record their hives and send in the audio files for analysis. If they detect "accents" they are planning to roll out the project to a further 40,000 hives across the UK.

To read the full article go to this link on the UK Telegraph website.



Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held at the home of Fay and Frank Karabaic .

Date: Sunday 14th August2015

Time: 10:00am for 10:30 start

Address: 27 Dyer Road, Coffs Harbour

Phone:  6652 1712

Activity: There will be a hive activity so please bring protective clothing.

There is always a lot going on at Frank’s fantastic apiary. 

Please bring chairs

Lunch: A BBQ lunch will be provided

Cost $5.00

Please bring a lunch item and something for morning tea or dessert, as well as a raffle prize.

Directions: Turn left into Dyer Road from Combine Street.

Parking: Please park cars in Combine Street adjacent to community garden.

Contact – Mal Banks-  6649 0990


Peter Dickson Smith – 6640 2009

Note :

Jeff Lord from Baringa Honey (Vic) will be attending our next meeting and will pay cash for good clean wax.

He is also interested in Manuka style Medicinal honey.