Mid North Coast newsletter - April 2017

THE BEE LINE          

Newsletter of the Mid North Coast Amateur Beekeeping Association

April 2017

Last Meeting

The last meeting was held on April 9th at Warren and Merridy Huxley's property at Gleniffer, near the Promised Land.

Stan about to look at the brood box

Stan about to look at the brood box

The mountains made a spectacular backdrop and the stunningly beautiful Never Never Creek ran through the bottom of the property. It was worth the steep walk down to have a look.

It was a beautiful day and 38 people were in attendance.

It was hard to draw yourself away from the coffee and all the beautiful cakes and sweets on offer for tasting and judging, but eventually the hive inspection took place with Stan assisting with the hives.

The queen is easily visible above the hive tool

The queen is easily visible above the hive tool

Merridy has two hives and both were in good condition. The hives were well above the ground - could that be why there was not one hive beetle spotted? The first hive looked at, had two ideal supers, with one ready for robbing. Apithor traps were in place in both hives. The brood box was looked at and the queen was spotted, and found to be healthy and laying. Merridy will be requeening in October and a meeting will be held here to coincide with that. The second hive appeared ready to be brought down for winter.

After putting the hives back together there was time for several 'fun' photos to be taken, with the Col. Pulling photo competition in mind. Thanks Stan for being the 'man'.

We now have three photos and these will be submitted for judging before May 1st.

Before and after lunch the honey, wax and cakes were judged. I'm not sure who cooked the snags but thanks anyway.

Circling the hive

Circling the hive

The Judging

A garden setting for lunch

A garden setting for lunch

  • Light Honey
    • Sue and Dennis Moore
    • Runner up - Charles Cavanagh
  • Medium Honey
    • Mal & Katrina Banks
    • Runner up -  Phil Jury
  • Dark Honey
    • Margaret Kennedy
    • Runner up – Deborah Ryan
  • Creamed Honey
    • Frank Karabaic
  • Frame of Honey
    • Don Wood
  • Block of Wax
    • Frank Karabaic
    • Runner up -  Don Wood
  • Honey Cake
    • Katrina Banks

Congratulations to all and thanks to all those who submitted entries.

We are now ready to give the Colonel Pulling a good shake.

Colours are defined by the pfund scale, a grading system that measures colour. Pfund colours are expressed in millimetres, according to the original measuring instrument that required operators to slide glass wedges along a scale until a colour match is obtained.

  • Very light – 0 to 15mm
  • Light- 16 to 34mm
  • Medium – 35 to 59mm
  • Dark-  60 to 120mm

An instrument to measure colour costs from under $100 to $300. Perhaps our club can buy one for judging and to lend out.

Liquid honey is usually judged on 6 aspects: Flavour, Density, Colour, Aroma, Clearness and Brightness. The first three are the most important.

Flavour is based on subjective judgement, but classic Australian flavours such as Yellow box and White box go well. Make sure it is not fermented!

Density – Is the viscosity of the honey, with top marks going to the most viscous.

Colour – it's a case of 'lighter the better' for the light classes and 'darker the better' for the darker classes. The mid range of the medium honey is most desirable.

Aroma – Is marked on a desirable smell, along with the strength of the aroma. Typically highly flavoured honeys score well on aromas. Honeys that have been warmed can lose their aroma.

Recently sieved honey tends to have a stronger aroma.

Clearness – is judged by holding the honey up to the light. Filtering will improve clarity. Let the honey settle and only use the upper part also improves clarity. Pour the honey tilted to avoid air bubbles. Clean around the neck of a jar just before judging(use a cotton bud), or even replace lid with a brand new one.

Brightness – Related to clearness. Use clean jar and honey should appear sparkly, not dull or earthy.

When heating honey don't go over 43 deg and you won't spoil the colour, flavour or aroma.

Things to do before Col. Pulling

  • Clean up samples – Fay, Sue and Mal
  • Bake cake – Katrina
  • Submit photos – Mal
  • Prepare Branch report – Mal and Lou
  • Submit best minutes- Mal and Pete
  • Study bee related questions – all those attending Ballina

After lunch John Carroll gave a talk on rearing queen cells.

Thanks again to Merridy and Warren for hosting the meeting. The club can only continue to succeed if we have a steady stream of venues. New venues are much needed and would be appreciated.


The club is at its strongest membership number levels, with 65 financial members. It's not too late to pay 2017 fees. Go online at beekeepers.asn.au and sign in to pay, or for newcomers apply to join. If you can't pay on line give me a call.

Club Business.

  • First Aid kit to be purchased.- Purchased 20/4/17
    • The following members nominated their services as current First Aid Officers- Jenny Maclauclan, Jenny Price, Felix Dolman and Merridy Huxley
    • Epipen to be purchased.
  • ABA technology grant - $400 – to be spent on TV/DVD as soon as funds are available
  • Peter is working on having some sort of name badges for partners
  • Changes to be made to ABA constitution. More to follow after Ballina AGM.
  • Decision made to purchase 2 more tables
  • Proposal made to have a first aid lecturer give an instructional talk at a meeting
  • Any articles for the Beeline newsletter would be appreciated.
  • The ABA AGM & Col Pulling Competition will be held on Sunday 21st May in Ballina this year at the RSL. Preceded by dinner at the RSL the night before following the NSW Apiarist’s Field Day at Alstonville during the day, Saturday 20th May. Besides those who put their hand up at the last meeting, if anyone else is planning on attending the dinner at Ballina RSL, please let me know so I can advise the Northern Rivers for catering.

Bees In Science

Landing strategies in honeybees, and possible applications to autonomous airborne vehicles

Insects, being perhaps more reliant on image motion cues than mammals or higher vertebrates, are proving to be an excellent organism in which to investigate how information on optic flow is exploited to guide locomotion and navigation. This paper describes one example, illustrating how bees perform grazing landings on a flat surface. A smooth landing is achieved by a surprisingly simple and elegant strategy: image velocity is held constant as the surface is approached, thus automatically ensuring that flight speed is close to zero at touchdown. No explicit knowledge of flight speed or height above the ground is necessary. The feasibility of this landing strategy is tested by implementation in a robotic gantry, and its applicability to autonomous airborne vehicles is discussed..

Ed: For the full article go to


The basics of this article also appeared in Awake 2/17, raising the question of evolution or Intelligent design.

Frank's Hive Hints No 27

The Mid North Coast is a meeting point for many trees from the area to the north and from the area to the south, so we have a great diversity of flora.

In this region Swamp Mahogany(Eucalyptus Robusta) is starting to flower in April and may continue to August. The bark is rough, fibrous and greyish brown. The leaves are shiny on top and dull underneath with a leathery texture. The honey has a pleasant taste and is dark amber in colour. The honey is good for winter stores or spring build-up in dry weather. Light creamy pollen is also produced.

Wet weather can be a problem as foragers can be lost. Excessive humidity can build-up in the hive.

Paperbark Ti-tree(Melaleuca Quinquenervia) has flowered well but is also affected by rain.

There may be a pleasant aroma in the apiary, but not necessarily much honey

Love Those Bees

Here's a link to a government site that has the results of the Australian Honey Bee Industry survey – 2014-2015. - Worth a read.


 Thanks Phil

Next Meeting

Please Note – There will be no meeting in May

The next meeting will be held on Sunday, June 11th at Bonville Creek Farm, Bonville.

Phone : Paul Campbell -  0400 225048

Address : Bonville Station Rd, Bonville Creek Farm, Bonville

Time:     10:00am for 10:30 start

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

Any suggestions for an activity are welcome. We can possibly do Frame or hive construction.

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

Please bring a raffle prize

Also bring a chair and don't forget your nametags

Directions :

From the South : Turn off the highway at Archville Station Rd, then right at the roundabout onto Pine Creek Way. Take the second on the right(Bonville Station Rd) and follow it across the highway past the school, and near the end of the road turn into Bonville Creek Farm.

Follow the Bee Meeting signs and the yellow and black balloons.

From the North: Turn off the highway at the Lyons Rd turnoff(Bonville), then right at the roundabout, cross the highway, and left at the roundabout onto Pine Creek Way. Turn left at Bonville Station Rd and follow to the farm as above.


Mal Banks - 6649 0990

Peter Dickson Smith – 6649-2009

Print this page, with directions, to take to the next meeting.

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