Bega Valley newsletter - October 2017

Highlights of the October Club Meeting

Cedar Anderson live discussion

Cedar Anderson live discussion

Members were treated to a live discussion and demonstration via Skype by Cedar Anderson, co-inventor of the Flow Hive.

We mentioned in last month’s Update that our club is now a member of the Flow Hive Beekeeping Support Program.  An advantage of this is members can obtain direct support and advice from the company via, or from the ‘Education” drop down box on the home page.

In addition, members receive a 7.5% discount on any purchases, with the club earning rewards or Club Credits at 10% (i.e. with every ten Flow Hive sales referred, the Club earns a free Flow Hive.

If you wish to take advantage of the discount you’ll need to include a reference number specific to our club.  For details please contact Suellen on

Club Apiary News

Throughout spring Graham Jones, Apiary Manager will be doing weekly inspections of the club’s hives.  

As all beekeepers know, these will be weather dependent meaning that often you’ll be advised at short notice only.  So check your emails, on a Thursday or Friday, as Graham will have a clearer idea of weather forecasts for the weekend ahead.

National Bee Pest Surveillance Program

The club will soon be taking on a hive monitoring role for the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), which will be establishing 2 sentinel hives at the Port of Eden.

This is part of the National Sentinel Hive Program which was established in 2000 to improve post-border monitoring around Australia for exotic pests of honey bees, including Varroa mites, Tropilaelaps mites and Tracheal mite.

This practice is widely used at major air and marine gateways into and out of Australia, as a means to detect any bee related diseases coming into the country.

The ACT Beekeepers Association similarly established sentinel hives near Canberra Airport when international flights started arriving. Each hive is monitored by members of the ACT Beekeepers Club.

Rod Bourke, Bee Biosecurity Officer with NSW DPI will be providing free training to members of our club who are interested in becoming part of the sentinel hive monitoring group at 2pm on Sunday 12th November, at the club apiary at the Old Bega Hospital. This is a great opportunity to gain greater insight into bee biosecurity management.

Monthly Club Meeting Learning Topics


November: Rod Bourke, Bee Biosecurity Officer with the Department of Primary Industries will be speaking on the Bee Biosecurity Code of Practice.

December: Christmas party and club hive products and honey tasting competition. Details will be provided in the November Members Update.

January: Various methods for splitting hives by Fay.

February: Annual General Meeting.  This will be followed by a Question and Answer session on anything beekeeping.

March: Trap Outs and Cut Outs by Graham.

Spring Workshops

The next Maintaining Your Hives Workshop for people who already have hives will be held on Sunday, 12th November.

Rod Bourke will lead the workshop. Topics to be covered include finding the queen, re-queening, disease identification and control, preparing a slide for disease diagnosis, splitting your hive, establishing a nuc, combining hives, seasonal management, and feeding your bees.

The cost is $60 for members and $100 for non-members. If you or anyone you know is interested please contact Treasurer, Sandy Farrell on 0407 959 312 or by email at

Biosecurity News

During October we want every club member to thoroughly inspect their hives by shaking the bees from each brood comb and checking for signs of American Foul Brood (AFB).  As you saw in the latest edition of the Amateur Beekeeper, the ABA wants us to report the number of hives inspected, reporting both clean and infected results – this can be done on-line through the ABA website.

DPI/ABA have provided test kits for distribution to members of all clubs throughout NSW. These can be picked up at the next club meeting, or we’ll post one to you.  Please contact Suellen if you would like one on

Beekeeping Resources

The club library now contains a range of interesting resources.  These are available for borrowing at our monthly meetings for up to 4 weeks.

Tip for the month from Garry Mallard

Conventional wisdom tells us we can move a beehive 3 feet or 3 kilometres, but shifting a hive from one end of the garden to another must be done over time, in increments of around 3 feet.

For this reason we commit a lot of thought to where we’ll set our hives and once the decision is made, we tend to think we’re stuck with it.

I’ve spent the past couple of months trialling ideas that might make the proposition of a short hop less daunting and I’m pleased to say I’ve now managed to move two of my hives from one end of my yard to the other, and back again, three times, without undue stress to either my buzzers or myself.

My reason for wanting to move my hives was one many will relate to.  After carefully positioning them to maximise exposure to warm winter sunshine, especially those defrosting early morning rays, I now wanted to provide shelter beneath a tree, out of the approaching harsh summer sun.

Some techniques are more efficient than others – like the ‘rolling along a long ladder’ technique Fay said she’s used. It does work…but it requires a lot of effort. Others have erected ‘scaffolding’ (see below) to slide their hives along.



The process I prefer is simple...

After checking the weather forecast for the next couple of days to find the maximum is quite mild, close your hive at dusk, trapping all your buzzers inside.  

If it’s possible to close your hive with a syrup feeder of some kind installed, so much the better, but this is not essential provided the forecast high for the next 24hrs is not excessively hot.

Next morning, move your hive to the new location and allow it to remain closed until the following morning, by which time your girls have been grounded for around 36 hours.

This is the important part...

Find a plank or something similar, about the same width as your hive and prop it in front of the exit/entrance, so that your girls will have to climb around it before they can take wing, and walk around it again before they’re able to approach the entrance. Then open your hive.

By doing this you have effectively changed the position of the entrance/exit, forcing your bees to reorientate and reprogram themselves with the new coordinates of the entrance.

Without the obstruction in place, your girls will simply take off as though the hive were in the same location it was in the last time they took flight and they will return to that previous location, since that’s the one their last orientation flight gave them coordinates for.

After opening your hive, leave the obstruction in place for 48 hours, by which time all your girls will have reorientated.  Of course when you remove the obstruction from the entrance/exit, they will need to reorientate once again and this will serve to set the new location in stone.

But if you have a spare trailer in the shed…maybe this is for you…

hive trailer.jpg

Anyway, I’ll get outaya way now...


If you have some useful tips to share in the next edition please send to Fay at

ABA Merchandise

bucket hat.jpg

The Amateur Beekeepers Association has expanded its range of merchandise to include keyrings, hats and tote bags.  

tote bag.jpg

If you would like to place a freight free order, when you check out, select the Free Pickup (by arrangement) and ask them to give it to Lyall Zweck at the next ABA Council meeting.  But place your orders now as that is on 29 October.

Next Club Meeting

  • Tuesday 14th November 2017, 7 pm
  • at the Meals on Wheels Rooms Bega
  • Rod Bourke – DPI – Bee Biosecurity and Code of Practice
  •     All contributions to supper most appreciated!       

Do you have anything of beekeeping interest to share with other members?

If yes please send your contribution to Fay at

Swarm Notification

Tim Crisp is the Club Swarm Coordinator, so if you become aware of a swarm in need of catching please let Tim know asap on 0448301220.

Club Equipment for Hire

Frame wiring jig eyelet tool, embedder and battery - $5 hire charge per session (Friday to Sunday night, and Monday to Thursday night).  Contact Lyall on 0418816904 or

Honey extractor - $15 hire charge and $20 deposit with the same hiring sessions as above. Contact Garry at

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