Mid North Coast newsletter - May 2017

THE BEE LINE          

Newsletter of the Mid North Coast Amateur Beekeeping Association

May 2017

Colonel Pulling Competition – Ballina 21/5 2017

Thanks to all those who attended the ABA - AGM and competition, and congratulations to all our club members - 2nd is a great result!

We had a great team for the quiz as can be seen by the results – 90%, and in the past the winner of the quiz was usually the winner overall, in fact some of our members were congratulated for winning overall, but when all the results came in we were a very close second.

A fantastic overall effort by the Northern Rivers got them the prize – So congratulations to them on taking out the Shield.



Equal 1st Northern Rivers & Hunter Valley 26.8/302nd MNC 26.1/30

The cake was judged as part of the apiary products.


1st MNC    18/20 , 2nd Northern Rivers 15/20


equal 1st MNC, NR, Central Coast-  19/20


equal 1st NR, Parramatta 28.8/30

2ndMNC 25.2/30withcommendation


NORTHERN RIVERS came 1st overall 89.6/100

MNC came 2nd overall 88.3/100,  a difference ofjust 1.3

MANNING VALLEYwinning the new small clubs trophy.

More detailed results will be given when made available by the ABA

Here's our 3 photos that were submitted.

 Gotta keep those bees happy – Dancing and singing in the apiary!

Gotta keep those bees happy – Dancing and singing in the apiary!

 “Don't Worry,Bee Happy” - Played in Bee flat on bee frames – by “Frankie and the Foragers.”

“Don't Worry,Bee Happy” - Played in Bee flat on bee frames – by “Frankie and the Foragers.”

 Power blackout, no gas? -  no problems - cook some snags on the solar wax melter!

Power blackout, no gas? -  no problems - cook some snags on the solar wax melter!

Phil took some great notes on the AGM and more will be discussed at the next meeting.

Here are some points:

  • a more active webpage would be good
  • Illawarra branch is hosting a meeting with an Eucalypt expert, from the North Coast - we could do the same      
  • For members not on the internet (4), our branch could post them the ABA journal?
  • Need to use the ABA resource centre more for guest speakers, etc
  • Don't just become a TOP BOX bee keeper. Need to look at the brood box also
  • It is compulsory to make a record of inspections. A template will soon be available
  • Possible tightening of laws regarding food handling for beekeepers
  • The new ABA constitution passed easily
  • Should we consider putting funds into a term deposit?
  • There was a big debate about the rules for the Cake for next year.
  • Next year's AGM and Colonel Pulling Competition will be held on the Central Coast in May
  • The AHBIC is the peak beekeeping body, yet the Amateurs don't have any representation on the body. They do not have much funding. So it was decided to donate $1 from each members' dues to give to AHBIC, and maybe thus get a seat on the Council.
  • The ABA has a new President
  • The Tocal field day is on Sat 14th Oct.
  • There is a phone app for hive inspections available on the net (at a cost)

Technology Grant

Secretary Peter has applied to the ABA for the technology grant, and it has been decided to purchase a TV/DVD player, when the funds become available.

Obtaining Hives, queens and Nuclei hives.

We need to develop a comprehensive list of members and others who can supply our members with hives and queens.

Club Photos

If anyone would like any particular club photo emailed to them, I can do that. The ones in the newsletter are compressed and not of top quality.


Now that you are satisfied you have done everything for your bees to make them comfortable, take a break and leave them alone for a couple of months and think about your new strategy for the coming season.  There is always something to keep you occupied when Spring comes.

You might think of planting a nice bush to stop neighbours looking straight over at your bees.  It could be a flowering shrub that the bees would appreciate.  Planting a small hedge or constructing a screen to shelter your hives could also be considered.

Find a corner in your garage, shed, house or garden where you can make an assembly bench where you can assemble some frames, wire them and embed foundation.  You may want to assemble some boxes and paint them too.  It’s also an opportune time to repair old equipment.  Get a few planks and construct a small bench big enough to do these jobs.

Leave a space for a couple of chairs so you and a friend can sit and exchange ideas and have a cup of tea.  Beekeeping is a beautiful hobby.

                                                 LOVE THOSE BEES.

Bees In The News

Colony collapse: 10 years after the crisis began, what is happening to the world's bees?

Ten years ago, beekeepers in the United States raised the alarm that thousands of their hives were mysteriously empty of bees.

What followed was global concern over a new phenomenon: colony collapse disorder.

Since then we have realised that it was not just the US that was losing its honey bees; Similar problems manifested all over the world.

To make things worse, we are also losing many of our populations of wild bees.

Bees are pollinators for about one-third of the plants we eat, a service that has been valued at $US168 billion per year worldwide.

Since the alarm was first raised, many countries have created new monitoring methods to judge the status of their bee stocks.

As a result we have much more data on bee populations, although coverage is still patchy and differences in survey methods make it hard to compare between continents.

It is clear that bees in the United States are still struggling.

Beekeepers can tolerate up to 15 per cent losses of colonies over winter, but the US is massively above this threshold, having lost 28.1 per cent of colonies over the 2015-16 winter.

Canada, by contrast, reported 16.8 per cent losses.

This is better, but still above the level of losses at which beekeepers can easily restock.

Only recently have we had data from central Europe. There, honey bees seem to be doing better: 11.9 per cent losses in 2015-16.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand surveys only began in the last year and have reported winter loss of 10.7 per cent.

Australia does not yet have a countrywide survey of the state of bee colonies.

Honey bees are not the only bees that we should care about: wild bees are vital pollinators too.

Unsurprisingly, we have much less data on wild bees than honey bees, and those data we do have point to bigger concerns. For our wild bees we only really have good data for populations that are endangered or that have completely disappeared. Between 2008 and 2013, wild bee diversity in the US dropped by 23 per cent, and a previously common bumblebee species was recently listed as endangered.

Do we understand why?

The good news is that the past decade has seen plenty of progress in understanding the mystery of colony collapse disorder. The bad news is that we now recognise it as a complex problem with many causes, although that doesn't mean it is unsolvable.

For all bees, foraging on flowers is a hard life.

It is energetically and cognitively demanding; bees have to travel large distances to collect pollen and nectar from sometimes hard-to-find flowers, and return it all to the nest.

To do this they need finely tuned senses, spatial awareness, learning and memory.

Anything that damages such skills can make bees struggle to find food, or even get lost while trying to forage.

A bee that cannot find food and make it home again is as good as dead.

Because of this, bee populations are very vulnerable to what we call "sublethal stressors" — factors that don't kill the bees directly but can hamper their behaviour.

In a recently published review, we argue that modern agriculture and industry have created a host of sublethal stressors that damage bees' cognition.

For example, diesel fumes and neonicotinoid pesticides both reduce bees' foraging efficiency by disturbing chemical communications in their brains.

Modern intensive agriculture disturbs bee nutrition, which impairs their brain.

Climate change interferes with the relationship between bees and the plants on which they feed.

In addition, managed honey bees are afflicted by a range of pests, viruses and predators that have been spread around the world as a side-effect of international trade.

The worst is the ominously named Varroa destructor mite, which causes brain development disorders.

What can we do?

At the global level, to preserve our bees we have to improve the environments in which they collect food. Every small action can make a difference.

Planting flower borders with bee-friendly flowers in your garden can provide food for both wild and domestic bees.

You can reduce or eliminate the use of herbicides or pesticides when gardening.

Even mowing the lawn less often can help bees out.

You could install a native bee hive or insect hotel.

Another tempting option is to buy local honey, which often has a more distinctive flavour than mass-produced versions.

In Australia, we are fortunate in that our bees seem to be doing better than many other parts of the world.

The Varroa mite has not yet invaded our shores, and in many areas bees can access pesticide-free bushland (although unlike Europe, Australia has not yet banned use of neonicotinoids in agriculture).

Australia also has an incredibly rich diversity of wild native bees — up to 1,600 different species, including our emblematic stingless bees.

Even so, to protect this diversity we need better surveys of how these species are doing.

Ten years on from the alarm over disappearing bees, it is fair to say we now know the nature of the problem and what can be done to fix it.

It's up to us to take the steps needed to sustain these precious pollinators of our food for the future.

Simon Klein is a PhD student studying bee cognition and behaviour at Université Toulouse III — Paul Sabatier and Macquarie University.

Andrew Barron is an associate professor in the department of biological sciences at Macquarie University.

Originally published in The Conversation. Taken from the ABC News website.

Future Meetings

July – Sharif's – Coffs Harbour

August – Frank's-  Coffs Harbour

September – Glenn's – Nana Glen

October -  Merridy's – Glennifer

November – AGM – Lou's – Bowraville

December – Xmas party – venue to be decided on.

Next Meeting

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,  Bonville

Time:     10:00am for 10:30 start

Activity : There may be an 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.

Enquiries : 

Mal Banks - 6649 0990    or     Peter Dickson Smith – 6649-2009

Please give comments, ask questions, make suggestions, or give feedback at the next meeting.

We are starting a suggestion box.