Mid North Coast newsletter - September 2016

THE BEE LINE          

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

Facebook page -


September 2016

Last Meeting

Glen's apiary. Yes that's a flow hive in the foreground

Glen's apiary. Yes that's a flow hive in the foreground

September’s meeting was held at the home of Anne Webster and Glenn Locke. A spectacular spring day resulted in a good attendance of members and visitors.

Glenn is building up a small beekeeping business with an emphasis on queen bee breeding and nucleus hive sales.

The first activity was to look through a cell builder that was being used to produce queen cells.  Glenn uses the cloake board method.

A strong double hive is manipulated so that the bottom super is full of sealed and emerging brood with the queen.  The aim is to produce a strong hive full of young bees.  A queen excluder and a cloake board is placed between the bottom super and a second super.  The second super contains a frame of honey, a frame of pollen and the balance of open (wet) brood.

The bees are fed 1:1 sugar syrup to simulate a honey flow.

A day or two before grafting the normal front entrance is closed, the upper cloake board entrance is opened and the rear entrance is opened.  This causes the bees to reorient to the cloake board entrance at the front.

Emerging nurse bees are drawn through the queen excluder to cover the open brood. 

About 24 hrs prior to introducing the grafted cells the cloake board is pushed into place which makes the top super queenless.  The population is boosted by all of the field bees returning to the top super. 

Grafted queen cells (that’s a story for another day) are introduced into the centre of the top super, hard up between the frame of pollen and a frame of open brood.  Sugar syrup is again placed in with the bees and the lid closed for 24 hrs.

Started cells are evident after 24 hrs and the sealed cells are then transferred to queenless mating hives 10 days after grafting.  With luck the nucleus hives will have a well mated laying queen about 30 days from grafting.

Glenn’s method is loosely based on a couple of methods including this information from NSW DPI


and this one from the Beesource forum


Both links are worth reading if you are interested in queen bee breeding.  Glenn also highly recommends doing a hands on course whenever an opportunity arises.

Glenn has a Facebook page for anyone who is interested in following his activities.


Glenn & Anne would like to thank everyone who attended for their interest and kindness.

As usual everybody enjoyed a great lunch and the raffle again proved a great way to raise funds for the club

After lunch a short business meeting was held.

Some of the topics raised were from the last meeting :-

  1. obtaining a clubhouse
  2. purchasing a gazebo for shelter from sun and rain
  3. visit to a professional beekeeper's premises

New matters brought up included:

  1. purchasing a covered trailer for the club's equipment
  2. trips to upcoming field days
  3. Continuing the purchase of wax and apithor traps

The next meeting to be held at Bowraville will include our 5th AGM.  All positions will be declared vacant and the election of office bearers will be held.

Input from all members would be appreciated. Your ideas, suggestions and visions are all welcome.

Here's a link to an internet story about Australia's biggest honey exporter.


One of Glen's hives that was looked at came about due to the following hive rescue.

Bees in a Couch.

A sad looking couch

A sad looking couch



Looks like an innocent couch in a paddock - until the property owner picked it up with a bobcat and was stung numerous times. (He estimates at least a hundred times). I salvaged about 6 frames of brood and a nice healthy queen. There was very little beetle activity & no sign of any other disease. The property owner received a reward for all his stings, approximately 30 to 40 kilos of comb honey. I would estimate they had been in the couch for up to a couple of years.

Cutouts are a great way to boost your hive numbers. They can be tricky for beginners and I would suggest you ask for help from someone who has some experience doing them before you try it yourself.

JPThebeeman has a great u tube channel as well https://youtube/R8HSJSU33Sk

Glenn Locke, Mt. Coramba Apiculture.




There are a lot of smokers available but they are not all the same efficiency or quality.  Australian made stainless steel is preferred.  Those made with cheaper metals will rust and buckle.  They come in several diameter sizes.  A 4 inch diameter is recommended.  Bellows are usually leather or vinyl and can be replaced in time if necessary.  Smokers need to be cleaned regularly as residue tends to build up.  Scrape it off carefully so as not to damage the smoker.  Do not overlook this important job and your smoker will last for many years.



Many kinds of fuel are used in smokers.  The ideal fuel will produce volumes of cool smoke and will stay alight longer.  Dry pine needles are a favourite but they produce a lot of sticky residue.  That’s why a lot of beekeepers prefer something else.  Fine, dry bark can be used such as that from Paperbark or Stringybark trees.  Hessian is sometimes used but the smoke can contain ash.  Bags made of hessian are sometimes exposed to insecticides or other chemicals that can aggravate bees.  Don’t use newspaper as the smoke can be too hot and toxic.

Use smoke in the hive as required by sensing the mood of the bees.  Too much smoke will panic the bees and make them run everywhere.  Too little smoke won’t control their aggression.  Make sure the smoker is working well before opening a hive.  Don’t be a hero!  Wear protective clothing and use your smoker wisely.

Notice from the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council


I would advise that a sixth detection of Asian bees (Apis cerana) has been found in Townsville in a compost bin.  As there were no Varroa jacobsoni found in the nest it becomes 6POR (Premise of Relevance).  It was found in the same area of Hyde Park that 4POR and 5POR were found.

There are still foraging Asian bees being found in the same area and beelining continues to locate these nests.

Trevor Weatherhead

Australian Leptospermum Honey Project

The Australian Leptospermum Honey Project is still ongoing with at least another two years of sample collection to go. The project is proceeding well but more research still needs doing.

As you know honey is increasingly being acknowledged as a healthy and natural alternative to refined sugars in the diet. People across the Globe are recognising the health value of Honey. Leptospermum honeys in particular, are known for their medicinal antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. New Zealand Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka) is the most well-known of these honeys worldwide. Australia has more than 80 species of Leptospermum, including L. scoparium compared to New Zealand’s single species. Hence, Australia is the home of Leptospermum. Scientific evidence based research is critical to informing the public and beekeepers on the activities and medicinal benefits of the many Australian Leptospermum honey products. 

Testing is being performed on the nectar of the Leptospermum plants around Australia. This will help Beekeepers identify and source active target species. Fieldwork is ongoing with the main target areas for this year being North Queensland, Southern New South Wales, the Queensland/New South Wales tablelands and Western Australia. To become involved in the nectar testing aspect, please contact PhD student Simon Williams (Email: Simon.Williams@research.usc.edu.au, Mob: 0459336779).

We are encouraging beekeepers to take advantage of the free testing of honey samples that are donated to this research project. These tests determine whether the honey has the antibacterial non peroxide activity associated with active Leptospermum honey. Please ensure that documentation is included when submitting samples. For details and further information, go to https://ozhoneyproject.wordpress.com/, or contact Dr Nural Cokcetin (Email: Nural.Cokcetin@uts.edu.au, Mob: 0405 284 718).

The industry wide support received enables this research and this value adds to the Australian product. Beekeepers can be assured that all confidential data is kept secure and not disseminated further. Site specific information is kept confidential.


Baked pork spare ribs with honey glaze

Serves 4

  • 1 kg pork spare ribs
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • ½ cup honey-braised
  • Juice and rind of two limes
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • ½ bunch spring onions, trimmed


1)      Preheat the oven to moderately hot (200C).

Place the spare ribs in a medium sized heavy-based pan, then cover with cold water and add the pepper. Bring slowly to the boil, reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook for 10 minutes.

2) Place garlic, cardamom, cumin and sea salt flakes in a small bowl and mix until combined. Drain the pork ribs and place them on a baking tray in a single layer. Coat both sides of each rib with an equal amount of the garlic mixture. Set aside.

3) Put Honey, lime juice, rind and cardamom seeds in a small pan and stir over a low heat for 3-4 minutes. Bring mixture to the boil, and boil for one minute. Spoon half of the honey glaze over the spare ribs. Bake for 10 minutes, turn ribs, then spoon over remaining glaze. Bake for 10 minutes.

Serve topped with spring onions.

Next Meeting

This will be held on Sunday, October 9th at the home of Lou and Diana’s at Bowraville.

Address : ‘ Lorrienne Lodge’

681 South Arm Rd, Bowraville

Phone:     6564 7584

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 something for morning tea/dessert.

Please bring a raffle prize and a chair.

Directions : From the north take the Nambucca turn off from the highway and then turn right to Bowraville(17kms). Drive through the town with the RSL and Fire station on the left. At the bottom of the hill turn right at the T-intersection.

Go past a little school and a big church on the left, with the golf course, RSl/Bowling club on the right, then the Aboriginal mission on the left. Follow South Arm Rd alongside the golf course . Turn right continuing on South Arm Rd(where Williams Hill Rd goes straight ahead) follow signs to Lorrienne Lodge and681 South Arm Rd(6.81 kms from Bowraville).

Look out for bee signs and yellow balloons.

4 Wheel drive not required.

If coming from the South follow directions from Bowraville centre.

Please Note: This meeting will include the AGM with election of Office bearers.

Enquiries : 

Mal Banks - 6649 0990

Peter Dickson Smith – 6649-2009