Parramatta newsletter - May 2017

In this Issue                                                

  • Beekeeping Registration Requirements
  • May Club Event – The Beevangelist!
  • April Club Event – Hi Tech Hives (Hive Monitoring) - Summary
  • DPI Request for the Submitting of Samples for Testing
  • Bee Pollination of Zucchinis in a Greenhouse in outer Sydney- Winter 2016
  • March Club Event - Parramatta Branch Annual General Meeting – 8 March 2017
  • St Ives Show – 20 and 21 May 2017
  • Educating People You Encounter
  • Beekeeper Training Available
  • Beekeeper Training Held - April
  • ABA Fees 2017
  • Club Shop
  • What’s in store for 2017? 
  • St Ives Show - 20 and 21 May 2017 – Entry and Class Details

A warm welcome to ALL new members!

Beekeeping Registration Requirements

Reminder:  “Any person who keeps bees (one or more hives) in NSW must be registered as a beekeeper in accordance with the Apiaries Act 1985 and the Apiaries Regulation 2013.  Follow the link to view the Apiaries Act and go to Part 3 Registration of beekeepers.

Seniors:  You are entitled to a discount on your honeybee registration

Source: accessed 4 January 2017.

‘Bee’ warned – penalties can apply!

May Club Event – The Beevangelist!

Doug Purdie

Doug Purdie

Doug Purdie

Doug Purdie fell in love with bees in 2009 when reading about the battle bees are facing in most of the world due to widespread diseases.  Six years later and he’s a self‑described ‘beevangelist’ managing more than 70 beehives on city rooftops, balconies, backyards and community gardens.

Starting small, selling honey at a community farmer’s market, Doug was given his first bee hive by his then father‑in‑law.  In no time he had joined the Amateur Beekeepers’ Association of NSW, Sutherland Branch where he met his business partner, Vicky.  The two bee fanatics have since formed The Urban Beehive, a business dedicated to bringing beehives to urban areas, and kick started the Sydney City Branch of the ABA.

Doug is our May guest speaker and will be providing us with a general (however entertaining) talk about his life as a beekeeper.

April Club Event – Hi Tech Hives (Hive Monitoring) - Summary

Mark Page

Mark Page

Mark Page

Our April guest speaker was Mark Page.  Mark is currently employed in a full time position managing the operations of an Australian Disability Enterprise Business Unit.  The business incorporates the purchase, assembly, manufacture and retail of bee goods to the amateur and commercial beekeeping industry. 

Mark’s presentation covered:    

  • Hi tech monitoring (HiveMind – satellite-connected bee hive monitoring)
  • What are the effects of temperature, humidity and activity
  • How to identify or what to look for

If you don’t have a HiveMind and want a guess-timate of your bee numbers the number of workers found in a hive can be estimated using the following information:

  • N=3 x (f/0.0138
  • N= number of bees in the hive
  • f= number of bees leaving the hive in 1 minute

When conducting this little exercise, pick a good day with plenty of activity.  Results will vary depending on conditions

Note:  The Club has access to a HiveMind, findings will be published in future Newsletters.

DPI Request for the Submitting of Samples for Testing

By Robyn Alderton

The State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory collects samples for veterinary testing, including for the identification of AFB, EFB or chalkbrood. 

The following link will take you to information in relation to the Laboratory and its services

The Laboratory has requested our help and that is to assist them in the efficient processing of submissions we send and to minimise any potential delays in the processing of our samples.  They have referred us to their instructional videos .

To view the help videos, click on the following link:  

Clicking on the link will provide you with information on collecting, packaging and shipping samples and includes a Form that must be completed to ensure all relevant and vital information regarding your sample is included.

Please direct further enquiries E:

Bee Pollination of Zucchinis in a Greenhouse in outer Sydney- Winter 2016

by John and Bernadette Douglas


Early growth achieved - April 2016 Galston NSW

Early growth achieved - April 2016
Galston NSW

We were asked to supply bees with the intent of pollinating zucchini plants to be grown hydroponically in a commercial greenhouse located in Galston NSW over the winter of 2106.

Following a telephone discussion with Bruce White, it seemed that with good hive preparation, good hive management and possible supplementary feeding it was feasible. 

The bee pollination proved highly successful and produced tonnes of zucchinis over winter.

Details and observations

Normal growing areas and seasons for Lebanese Zucchinis

Normal growing areas and seasons for Lebanese Zucchinis

The green house is located in Galston NSW (approximately 40 km from Sydney CBD).  It is approximately 5700sqm (1.4 acres) in size.  Fortunately there was a ceiling piece missing at the front of the greenhouse which meant forager bees could leave the green house.  We placed the hive underneath the missing ceiling piece.

Approximately 14,000 Lebanese Zucchini (Curcubita pepo) were grown in hydroponic cells.  The farmer was not sure if the climatic conditions of the greenhouse or the ability of bees to pollinate would be successful in Sydney given the winter conditions in the Hills District.

Hive placed April 2016 in Galston NSW

Hive placed April 2016 in Galston NSW

A 10 frame hive with 4-5 frames of brood and several frames of pollen and honey was moved into the greenhouse in April 2016.  It also had a half super box with partially capped honey frames added just prior to placement.

During winter it was necessary to spray for both thrip and powdery mildew.  Given my concerns about the effect on the bees both Ag Nova and Bayer were consulted on the best product to use prior to spraying.  Ag Nova recommended Flute™ (cyflufenamide) a bee friendly product for powdery mildew.  Bayer, recommended Movento ™.  Neither of these sprays seemed to affect the condition of the bees or the hive.

Hive management

  1. Managing the bees on a concrete floor proved to be excellent for SHB control and management.
  2. Having a temperature and wind controlled environment meant flexibility when we could manage the bees.
  3. We maintained our normal practice of not using smoke.
  4. By the end winter the honey frames were well depleted. 
  5. We placed the hive on a pallet so that the farmer could easily move the hive (less than 2 metres) outside of the green house when spraying insecticide.
  6. No supplemental feeding was required.

It was observed by the farmer that during the season a significant amount of pollen appeared to have been dropped by the bees and not taken to the hive.  However, each plant produced in excess of the fruit per plant expected, so the bees were obviously effective pollinators during the winter months.  


It is possible to use bees to successfully pollinate Lebanese Zucchinis in greenhouse conditions (with an opening in the ceiling) in winter in Galston.

Pollination by the bees during winter produced commercial quantities of fruit.

Movento and Flute did not appear to affect the bees which remained in the greenhouse when spraying.  

Moving the bees out of the hive when insecticide was used was successful.

We have added an additional 2 hives for the summer crop.

March Club Event - Parramatta Branch Annual General Meeting – 8 March 2017

Well, you can always tell when there is an AGM, unfortunately, the numbers attending are considerably less.  Thank you to those who attended and more importantly THANK YOU to those VIPs who volunteer their time to assist in the smooth running of the Club for EVERYONE.

The Parramatta Branch of the ABA, AGM was held on 8 March 2017.  All positions were declared vacant.  Following is a list of your newly elected Committee.  You will note that although there are many familiar faces that have been re‑elected there are also a few new ones.

Congratulations to the new Committee, if it wasn’t for you there would be no Parramatta Club.

St Ives Show – 20 and 21 May 2017

By:  Peter Clarke

We hope your honey harvest has improved and your hives are showing plenty of activity and the honey is flowing into extractors thick and fast. In May we will be attending the St Ives Show and ALL members are welcome. If you have not been to one of our shows and exhibitions why not come and join us?  ALL members and guests are welcome to attend.

You can attend the Show and:

  1. learn or participate in the Apiculture honey and bee products judging
  2. assist with providing visitors with information on beekeeping and honey products
  3. assist in selling honey and bee products from our stand

This year we have invited the newly formed ABA Northern Beaches Club to join us, to promote their club as well as experience our club activity. There will be 9 bee product classes, blind judged, at the Show.  The Judge for the event will be Parramatta’s Norm Webb.  Judging will include honey, wax, bees and mead products. For a complete list of classes and detailed entry information please see the attached entry form and fee details.

Show judging will be held at the St Ives Show Ground and all entries will be displayed with the first three places receiving recognition on the display - see entry form show details and entry form in this newsletter.

Show Set up

St Ives Showground, Friday, 19 May, 9.30am to 1.30pm - See Sandy Harrison for Roster - Mobile - 0448 600 324


  • Handed in at our May meeting with the entry form* and fee/s
  • Delivered to St Ives Showground, Friday, 19 May, 9.30am to 1.30pm with entry form* and fee/s

Honey Product Judging

Saturday, 20 May 2017 - all entries to be in by 7.45 am to be eligible for judging

St Ives Honey Products Display and Sales - St Ives Showground - see Sandy Harrison for Roster - Mobile 0448 600 324

·         Saturday and Sunday 20 and 21 May 2017

  • Saturday, 8.00 am - 5.00 pm
  • Sunday, 9.00 am - 5.00 pm

·         Collect Exhibits and honey products, Sunday, 4.00 pm - 5.00 pm

NOTE: If you intend selling your honey at the show you will be expected to assist setting up, selling on the stand or clearing up, for at least 4 hours, ie, 2 x 2 hour periods.  (The exception to this rule is our members who are attending the ABA AGM in Ballina - we will be happy to sell their products on their behalf).

            See Sandy Harrison for Roster - Mobile - 0448 600 324

See you at the Show!

Educating People You Encounter

By:  Robyn Alderton

Do you find yourself ’bee’ educating people you encounter?

I do.  On a recent trip to Queensland (Mt Tambourine) I was proudly shown jars of honey for sale that belonged to the shop keeper.  I thanked her and politely told her that I have my own hives.

People always want to know how many hives you have.  I have no idea what that has to do with anything however I mentioned how many I had and added that I had lost one to AFB over Winter.

Her response was, ‘what is AFB’?

That is when the education on AFB and other bee related pests and diseases began ……

Beekeeper Training Available

By Robyn Alderton

The Club continues to provide new beekeepers with the opportunity to learn all they can about beekeeping through Beginning in Bees Workshops.  These Workshops are run by our very experienced Arthur Garske for a nominal fee.

Following is a list of training courses on offer:

  • Bee box assembly
  • Lid and bottom board making
  • Frame making
  • Hive opening

To express your interest in any of the courses listed above contact Arthur on:  Training is run by volunteers, therefore courses will not be run until minimum numbers are reached.  Maximum number accepted is10. 

There is a small fee which covers ancillary costs; the course fee MUST be paid in advance.

Beekeeper Training Held - April

By Arthur Garske

Lid and bottom board training was held on Wednesday, 26 April 2017.  Eight members attended, all completed a bottom and a lid and left commenting they had learnt a lot and that they were feeling very happy.

ABA Fees 2017

Members should refer to emails sent through the ABA for the 2017 Fee structure.  If you have misplaced that email, go to:

and scroll down to ‘How to join the ABA’

To join the Parramatta Branch of the ABA, fees are as follows:

  • Compulsory ABA capitation fee

to which can be added

  • Optional personal insurance policy for beekeeping activities

Club Shop

The Club Shop is open for business prior to each meeting (opening at 7.00 pm). 

Shop opens at 7.00 pm

Members are encouraged to email their orders to Ross in advance.  This process will save you time and you won’t have to stand in a queue.  All you have to do is pick up your pre‑paid items on the evening of the meeting. 

Reminder:  If you choose to wait in a queue, please wait in a line outside so Shop staff can move more freely within the Shop and serve Members more efficiently. 

Email your order to Ross in advance and pick it up at the Meeting.

What’s in store for 2017?

10 May 2017 - 7.30 pm Parramatta Monthly Meeting
and Bee Friendly Living Presentation (followed by a light supper)

14 May 2017 - 8.30 am Parramatta Apiary check
and preparation for the start of the next season

15 May 2017 - 6.00 pm Parramatta Executive Meeting at Carlingford Bowling Club

19 May 2017 - 9.00 am St Ives Show -  Honey Products Judging
and St Ives Show

20 & 21 May 2017 - 9.00 am St Ives Show

21 May 2017 - ABA AGM and Col Pulling at Ballina

14 June 2017 - 7.30 pm Parramatta Monthly Meeting (followed by a light supper)

18 June 2017 - 8.30 Prepare for next season - paint and build

21 June 2017 - 6.00 pm Parramatta Executive Meeting at Carlingford Bowling Club

12 July 2017 - Christmas in July Meeting - Location

16 July 2017 - 8.30 am Prepare for next season - paint and build

9 August 2017 - 7.30 pm Parramatta Monthly Meeting (followed by a light supper)

13 August 2017 - 8.30 am Prepare for new season - Swarms

13 September 2017 - 7.30 pm Parramatta Monthly Meeting (followed by a light supper)

11 October 2017 - 7.30 pm Parramatta Monthly Meeting (followed by a light supper)

15 October 2017 - 8.30 am Apiary check

8 November 2017 - 7.30 pm Parramatta Monthly Meeting (followed by a light supper)

13 December 2017 - Christmas Club (and Family) BBQ

Note:    Details correct at the time of dispatch however are subject to change

Please email your Newsletter enquiries to:

Disclaimer – ABA Parramatta Branch and contributors to this Newsletter disclaim all responsibility for any losses that may be attributed to the use or misuse of any material mentioned in the Newsletter of the “Parramatta Branch of the “Amateur Beekeepers Association. The opinions expressed by the contributors to the Newsletter are not necessarily those held by the Editor, Parramatta Branch Committee or the Amateur Beekeepers Association.

St Ives Show - 20 and 21 May 2017 – Entry and Class Details

By:  Sandy Harrison (Apiculture Chief Steward)

T:  0448 600 324 or



This year Apiculture products such as honey and bees wax will be displayed and judged at the St Ives Show. The display and judging will be coordinated by the Parramatta Branch of the Amateur Beekeepers Association of NSW.


  1. Maximum 2 entries per competitor per class
  2. A fee of $1.00 per entry is charged
  3. Certificates will be awarded for First, Second and Third in each class
  4. Entries will be accepted at the club meeting on Wednesday, 10 May orat the Show between 9.30 am and 12.30 pm on Friday, 19May 2017
  5. Judging will commence at 8.00 am sharp on Saturday, 20 May 2017.
  6. Entries must be collected from the Show between 4.00 pm and 5.00 pm on Sunday, 21 May 2017  
  7. Entries should have been produced since June 2016
  8. Entries will be on display over the period of the Show
  9. For honey entries standard 500 gm glass jars are required


  1. Liquid honey light, 3 only, 500 gm jars
  2. Liquid honey medium, 3 only, 500 gm jars
  3. Liquid honey dark, 3 only, 500 gm jars
  4. Creamed honey, 3 only, 500 gm jars
  5. Candied honey, 3 only, 500 gm jars
  6. Comb honey, 1 frame, any depth
  7. Beeswax block, greater than 500 gm
  8. Dry Mead, one bottle approximately 750 ml
  9. Sweet Mead, one bottle approximately 750 ml

Please download the full newsletter for the Show entry form