Mid North Coast newsletter - August 2016


Newsletter of the Mid North Coast Amateur Beekeeping Association                                             

President :  Marcus Lewisph 6656 2287                                  Secretary : Peter Dickson-Smith

Treasurer:  Mal Banks                                                                    Ph :   02 6649 2009

Ph:  026649 0990 , email-  mjbanks1@bigpond.com          Public Officer : Marcus Lewis

Newsletter :  Mal Banks                                                                Ph : 02 6569 5561

Vice Presidents :  Allan Thomas, Paul Campbell                      Librarian: Fay Karabaic

Keith Harris

August  2016

Last Meeting

A brood frame at Frank's

A brood frame at Frank's

The last meeting was held on Sunday 14th August at the home of Faye and Frank Karabaic.

Frank and onlookers, in his suburban apiary

Frank and onlookers, in his suburban apiary

Frank and his young queens

Frank and his young queens

It was a beautiful day, as have been so many lately. It has been a bit of a boom time for beekeepers this year. The winter has been mild, with plenty of sunshine, good rain and eucalypts are flowering. There has been the opportunity for robbing in August. I hope the good times continue into spring. Check your hives and take measures to control swarming or think about splitting hives. The expansion of the hives will mainly depend on the quality of the pollen coming up in spring.

It's always a busy day at Frank's apiary. After morning tea Frank gave a demonstration of some frame-making, including constructing, wiring and tensioning. There was a also a hive box adapted to make 8 frames at a time.

Frank's apiary was going well and the first hive had one half depth super and a full depth super. It was a fairly new hive and was going along well, with no sign of disease.

The second hive was basically two hives in one, with a half-depth super and a top super set up for the rearing of queen cells. Frank even sacrificed one of his immature queens for inspection by those present.

It was a very informative hive inspection and thanks must go to hosts, Faye and Frank. There was a very good attendance with 44 present.

Thanks must go to John (our B-B-Q expert) for cooking lots of sausages, and to everybody who brought luncheon items. We all keep looking out for Keith' curry to be on the table, not this time, maybe next.

After the raffle we all listened to a very interesting talk from Berringa Honey's representative, Geoff Lord.

Geoff handed out some show bags, and honey sampler kits so here is some info from his talk and the documents in the showbag.

Berringa Honey is looking for good quality Manuka, Tea tree, Eucalypt, Honey comb & Beeswax products. They have farm gate pick up for all products and will test your honey for free.

Starting with an MGO of less than 25, Berringa will pay between $5.50 and $6.50 per Kilo, scaling up to $40.00 per kilo for honey with an MGO rating over 1000.

Remember we live in the area (between Taree and the Qld border) where Manuka honey can exist.

At $40 a kilo we're talking big bikkies!

Some ironbark honey can have a good MGO rating.

Berringa is an organic honey company.

They will also buy good clean wax for $10.00 a kilo.

MGO stands for Methylglyoxal, and it has scientifically been shown to contribute to the antibacterial and antimicrobial activity and associated health benefits.

In a world increasingly running out of viable antibiotics, honey is coming into it's own.

Most Manuka honey, in Australia comes from bees feeding on Leptospermum polygalifolium, a plant found in some natural coastal areas in Eastern Australia.

Berringa is 100% Australian owned.

Geoff can be contacted on 0417 598 201

Thanks to Geoff for attending, and to John for arranging the visit.

After the talk there was little interest in a business meeting, so a very short one was had.

Wax foundation and Apithor traps will be available for sale at the next meeting.

With all the talk of bottom board beetle baffles and shims here are some You Tube links, and a facebook link on the subject. Thanks to Ross Wood for supplying the links.



There’s never been a better time of year to be a beekeeper.  Now that you have finished preparing and repairing your equipment it’s time to reward yourself.  Here’s a tip that any beekeeper would love.  Take a trip out west to see Turnip Weed in bloom.  (Rapistrum rugosum)  It is a sea of yellow blossoms growing between Moree and Collarenabri producing an abundance of pollen and some nectar.  Apiarists move hives to the area to build up bee populations.  The prolific supply of good, nutritional pollen and stimulating amounts of nectar greatly increase brood rearing and strengthen colonies for honey flows to follow.  If hives are not moved swarming could occur.

When you have finished admiring the Turnip Weed, drive back to Moree to the public hot spa baths to warm up.  Opposite is the pub where you can have a refreshing drink before heading back to Inverell.  Take the road to Tingha and Guyra.  This is a good honey producing region.  Along the way pass through Ebor.  If snow has fallen during Winter clover will bloom well in Summer producing a crop of tasty honey.

Then back home to your beloved bees where hives may be ready to expand for Spring. You have probably noticed just now bees are looking for water.  If you glance at the hive entrance you will see bees carrying various colours of pollen.  These are good signs that the brood nest is expanding.  Make sure fresh water is available.  Bees will mark that place.  Put it in a convenient place so bees will not annoy neighbours.


Looking For Bee Equipment?

We've all heard of Valley industries at Taree, but their Webpage has been pretty useless.

I will attach to the newsletter email a full 2016 pricelist in PDF form.

Information - Requeening

Whether you buy or breed your queens, the requeening procedure is the same.

Removing the old queen.

The first step is to remove and kill the old queen, otherwise the new one might be killed.

Find the queen, tip – it is handy to have a spare hive box near the hive to place the frames in as they are examined.

Introducing the new queen

After removing the old queen, leave the hive queenless for 12 to 24 hours, then introduce the new queen to the hive. Use the mailing cage in which she was received or a Miller cage.

Remove the escort bees before the cage is introduced to increase the likelihood that the queen is accepted. (Though advisable, this is not essential). Do this just before she is introduced, as she must not be left alone for very long

As the queen can fly at this stage, be careful she does not escape.

Placing the cage

Before introducing the queen, remove the cork in the candy end of the cage and remove one frame from the hive. Wedge the mailing cage in the centre of the brood nest, between the remaining frames with the gauze side facing upwards or downwards. Over the next few days the bees will eat away the candy and the queen will be released. By this time the colony will have developed the scent of the queen and she will be accepted.

Requeening, after first failure

If the process fails there are two options-

1)      Use another caged queen - break down all the queen cells and introduce another caged queen. This must be done within 10 days after killing the old queen, otherwise a virgin queen might have hatched from one of the emergency queen cells, and the caged queen would be lost again.

2)      Leaving it to the hive – Let the hive make its own queen. Check the hive 26 to 28 days after killing the old queen to see if the new one is laying. Be careful when making this check because if she did not come back from mating, a laying worker might be present.

If you find that the hive is still queenless:

*add a frame of brood and another caged queen

*unite the colony to an existing one

*add a nucleus colony to the brood chamber

Requeening Naturally

Sometimes bees will reproduce by swarming or replacing unsuitable queens by superseding.


Colonies generally supersede queens which are old or faulty, but rarely construct more than two or three queen cells. They usually build these cells on the top half of a frame of brood comb. Don’t mistake supersedure cells for swarm cells and destroy them, or the hive might eventually become queenless and die.

Swarm cells

Swarm cells are identical in appearance to supersedure cells but are more numerous, slightly smaller and usually located along the lower third of the brood frames. The presence of swarm cells indicates that a swarm is about to leave or has left the hive and urgent management is needed.

Ed – From The Bee Book – Beekeeping in Australia by Peter Warhurst and Roger Goebel


Salad dressing for an Asian Spring salad.

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • ½ clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper , to season.

Put all the ingredients in a jar. Secure the lid and shake well to combine. Pour on fresh Asian salad.

Ed: October 2016 Better Homes and Gardens

Next Meeting

This will be held on Sunday, September 11th at the home of Anne Webster & Glenn Locke at Nana Glen.

Address : 1247 Eastbank Road Nana Glen.

Phone: 0459066297

Time: 10:00am for 10:30 start

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

Lunch: BBQ - $5.00 – at 12:30pm – please bring a luncheon item and/or something for morning tea.

Raffles items would be appreciated.

Meeting : 1:30pm

Directions : From Coffs Harbour take the Coramba Road and go through Coramba to Nana Glen.  Turn right at the primary school and follow the Bucca Road over the river and past the Nana Glen hall then over the railway bridge.  Take the first right onto Eastbank Road.  Anne’s house is the second house on the right.

From Glenreagh turn left at the school as you enter Nana Glen.

You can also follow Eastbank Road at Coramba by turning right just before the overhead railway bridge at Coramba.

Look out for bee signs and yellow balloons.

Enquiries :

  • Mal Banks - 6649 0990
  • Peter Dickson Smith – 6649-2009