Mid North Coast newsletter - March 2017


Newsletter of the Mid North Coast Amateur Beekeeping Association                                             

President :  Lou Schmidt 6564 7584                                           Secretary : Peter Dickson-Smith

Treasurer:  Mal Banks                                                                    Ph :   02 6649 2009

Ph:  026649 0990 , email-  mjbanks1@bigpond.com          pdsbml@bigpond.com   

Newsletter :  Mal Banks                                                                Public Officer : Marcus Lewis

                                                                                                            Ph : 02 6569 5561

Vice Presidents :  Allan Thomas, Marcus Lewis                        Librarian: Sue Moore Ph 6653 6775

Keith Harris                                                                                       Ass. Librarian : Diana Schmidt

Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/Mid-North-Coast-Amateur-Beekeepers-Association-Inc-

March 2017

Last Meeting

The last meeting was held on March 12th at Mal and Katrina's place at Kremnos, just north of Glenreagh. The weather was fine and warm and 29 members were in attendance.

After tea and a chat a hive inspection was held.

M & K's apiary has been under stress this year from extreme weather as in the form of heat waves, with one day recording a scorching 46.3 deg. The summer was dry and we lost a few hives, due to queen abcsonding/hive beetle problems. One hive that was lost had a super of stickies recently replaced and another two supers of honey. Both slimed. Not very pleasant and a waste of time, materials and honey.

Two more hives were weak and seemed to be queenless at the last inspection before the meeting. Some brood was added and on the day of the meeting the hives appeared healthy and with fresh eggs- good news. Both were reduced to just one super. Thanks to Al, Stan and Don for helping out at the hives.

Some fun photos were taken at the apiary, but these will not be shown until after the Colonel Pulling competition. Thanks to Christiaan for helping out.

Al opening a hive

Al opening a hive

It has been a difficult season and now you can add non stop rain and floods to the problems. Steve Fuller was telling me he was swimming with some of his hives the other day and the bees were extremely cranky. - Ah the joys of beekeeping.

Before lunch there was a chance to look at some beekeeping gear on display. President Lou was there with the club's new trailer and gazebos and new tables.

Thanks to Lou for carting the gear around in the trailer. It makes it so much easier to have the gear all together. He actually had some dramas on the trip home from this meeting when one of the tyres came off completely, rolled away and became lost in a steep gully. Not long after putting on the spare and continuing home, that tyre shredded, so poor Lou was stranded with no tyre. A local cameto the rescue, and everything ended up OK. The trailer is now back on the road with one new wheel and a new tyre. So please note when using trailers check your nuts and tyre pressures!

Our club now has a lot of gear and therefore is very flexible in its ability to host meetings. Thanks to all those who have hosted meetings,  and yes, we are constantly on the lookout for new venues. So it's time to thank Merridy and Warren Huxley for offering their property for the next meeting at Glennifer, in The Promised Land.

Details to follow later in the newsletter.

After a fine lunch and dessert a business meeting was had with Lou at the helm. It's been a while since we've had, President, Secretary and Treasurer at the same meeting. A lot of discussion was had and most of this centred around the upcoming Colonel Pulling Competition at Ballina in May.

Business of the meeting

The minutes of the last meeting were tabled and read by Secretary Peter, and Mal read the February treasurer's report, with a closing balance of $ 2,234.

Points to note included:

  1. Apply for 2017 ABA grant.
  2. Purchase First Aid kit and discuss the topic of purchasing epipens at the next meeting
  3. The club now has an attendance book for meetings. All members and visitors attending please remember to sign
  4. 2017 membership cards ready to be handed out. *What about associate members cards or identification? To be worked on
  5. Consider purchase of portable BBQ in the future
  6. First Aid Officers among members ?
  7. Adhere to agenda at meetings
  8. Using tape to record activities on each hive
  9. Method for inspection of Nosema, as displayed by John Carroll
  10. Phil Jury was appointed assistant Secretary.
  11. Demonstration hive?

The next meeting will include our club honey tasting for the ABA competition.

So please bring along your best honey for judging. We will judge light, medium and dark honeys as well as creamed honey. If you have a good clean block of wax, that will also be judged..

We are also looking for a nice frame of capped honey, as Frank is not sure if he'll have one.

And if you have a special honey cake recipe please bring along the cake for sweets and reviewing.

As well we can submit one more “fun in the apiary” photo, so if anyone has an idea, please suggest it at the next meeting.

The honey must be submitted for each category in two 500g glass jars. I will bring some spare jars so whoever wins the honey judging, they'll be able to decant it into these jars.

We will be able to have the May meeting the week before the Colonel Pulling comp. This will most likely be at the School at Bonville.

Looking at a honey super

Looking at a honey super

In case anyone does not know what the Colonel Pulling competition is, just go to the ABA website. It's a statewide competition between the ABA branches and coincides with the ABA general meeting.

Whilst at the ABA website take the time to look at some of the other branches newsletters.

The Northern Rivers is of particular interest as their region is so similar to ours..

Here's the link. http://www.beekeepers.asn.au/news?tag=Northern+Rivers

Check out the story on canetoads!

Some questions from the 2013 Col. Pulling trivia quiz.

1)      What makes old comb stronger over time?

2)      What is the ambient temperature for successfully brewing mead?

3)      What is the flashpoint of beeswax?

4)      I notice that a colony is under attack from robber bees. What is the first step to stop this occurring?

5)      What can be done to reduce the desire for a strong colony to swarm?

6)      American Foulbrood: is it caused by a bacterium or a Virus?

7)      Is chalkbrood caused by a bacterium or a fungus?

8)      At what age does a worker bee normally produce wax scales?

9)      Can you get stung by a queen bee?

10)  What is the effect of irradiation, or what does it do?


Bee hives need not be disturbed during the colder months. Provided they are well prepared they will survive until Spring.

Check the queen to see that she is performing well.  If she is failing kill her and unite the colony with another healthy one above a sheet of newspaper.

Check all brood combs for disease, particularly AFB.

Check food stores.  If they are inadequate feed sugar syrup (50 / 50 ).  Bees will forage during Winter but nectar sources may be scarce.

Remove excess supers that are not covered in bees.  Extract the combs and discard any unsealed honey.  Return combs to their hive for 1 day to be licked clean.  Remove and store in a dry place.  They can be placed in a freezer for 1 night to destroy any wax moth eggs then stored in a sealed plastic bag until needed.

                 LOVE THOSE BEES.

Ed: Thanks again to Faye and Frank for providing the hive hints every month. Any stories or tips, photos or anything from members for the newsletter would be greatly appreciated.

Bees In The News

Get ready for the SUPERBEES: Scientists reveal plan to breed insects resistant to diseases and even stress

A key set of genes involved in honey bee responses to multiple diseases caused by viruses and parasites has been identified by researchers. 

The findings are important given that honey bee populations have experienced severe losses across the Northern Hemisphere, mainly due to parasites and pathogens. 

The identification of this set of genes could help researchers and beekeepers breed bees that are more resilient to stress, and could also help researchers learn how to use pathogens effectively to control insects pests.

The researchers said that recent advances in DNA sequencing have prompted many investigations of the genes involved in honey bee responses to pathogens. But until now, the large amount of data has been too cumbersome and specific to individual bees to reveal general patterns in honey bee immunity. 

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4287400/Scientists-breed-superbees-resistant-diseases.html#ixzz4c3J2DUTN

Hive equipment

Don't forget member Rod Dowsett has equipment for sale. Complete Hives, Foundation, Bee escapes, queen excluders, lids, frames, bottom boards and much more.

Rod is also willing to trade 4 sheets of foundation for a Kilo of capping wax (roughly a large yoghurt bucket size). Saves a lot of work!

Dowsett Inn Honey

Bowraville Beehives (and beekeeping supplies)


email:  admin@roddowsett.com

Seasonal Management


  • Inspect the frames for food stores at the beginning and at the end of autumn; hives need six frames full of honey for food over winter
  • Inspect the queen. Check that the queen is active on the comb, does not have worn wings or damaged legs and that she is laying compact areas of eggs
  • Re-queen if necessary
  • Check the brood for brood disease. Look for a solid brood pattern, not more than 10 per cent of cells empty

Some Points about Brood Frames- from AE& LM Teske:-

Brood frames must be top quality combs with: -

  1. No bow's in the original foundation, with at least 1mm space of the foundation clear of the frame for expansion in the hive. If there is no space the foundation can bow when it is being drawn.
  2. The wires must be taut (able to play a tune).
  3. As the number of hatching increases, the walls of each cell will become thicker resulting in smaller bees.
  4. When working the brood super and it is found that there is a part of frame or frames that are not being used with sealed brood in other parts of the same frame, it can be assumed that there is something wrong with those cells or the frame. The queen has not laid any eggs in those cells.
  5. Replace those frames and place the unusable frames above the excluder so that the brood can hatch, (make sure that the brood is checked for rogue queen cells 5 to 7 days later and destroyed). Leave those frames in the honey super to fill with honey, extract and than cut out the old comb. Replace with new foundation.

Answers to Quiz

1)    Cocoons and propolis

2)    15 to 26 deg C

3)    205 Deg +/- 5 deg C

4)    Reduce the entrance

5)    Give them ample room to work in and increase ventilation by offsetting the top super slightly

6)    A bacterium called– paenibacillus larvae

7)    A fungus called – Ascophaera apis

8)    12-18 days old

9)    Yes

10)   It kills all live organisms

Coming Events

9th April – Next MNC Beemeeting – Glennifer

14th May – MNC Beemeeting – Bonville

18th -19th May – NSW Apiarists Assoc Annual Conference – Ballina

20th May – North Coast Field Day- Alstonville Showground

21st May – ABA AGM & Colonel Pulling Competition – Ballina RSL

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held at the property of Merridy and Warren Huxley at Gleniffer, on Sunday, 9th April

Address: 505 Roses Rd, Gleniffer

Phone contact: Merridy - 0421 690 403 or Warren on 0413 497 356.

Time: 10:00 am for 10:30 start

Activity: There will be hive activity

        Please Bring Protective Clothing

Cost: $5 for members and associate members

What to Bring:

  • Chairs
  • Protective Clothing
  • Honey for judging – light,medium, or dark and creamed honey
  • Wax block
  • Honey cake
  • Dessert item – Honey cake?
  • Salad or luncheon item


From Bellingen, turn right at Post Office & cross Lavenders Bridge to Nth Bellingen, & then left at the roundabout into Wheatley Street, which turns into Gleniffer Road.  A few kms out of town the road bends right, if you go straight ahead that is Roses Road. Continue on for about 5 - 6kms & we are on the left, if you get to the turn off to John Locke Place you have missed our driveway.  Our driveway is 800 metres long & should be driven slowly. Plenty of parking near the house or the veggie patch. Note that Roses Road is a loop so if you miss the first turn continue on to the top end of Roses Road.

Enquiries :

Contact – Mal Banks-  6649 0990


        Peter Dickson-Smith – 6649 2009