Bega Valley newsletter - July 2017

Bega Valley Amateur Beekeepers Inc.

July 2017 Members Update

Highlights of the July Club Meeting

Lyall led a Question Answer session where members shared beekeeping ideas, problems, solutions, myths and funny stories.  It was a truly fascinating discussion, and highly beneficial to all beekeepers, whether new or experienced.


Here are 4 ideas you might find helpful…..

  1. Be cautious about buying second hand electrical beekeeping equipment on line, such as honey extractors and knives. We recently had the club’s extractor checked and found it wasn’t earthed!  This has now been remedied and safe to use.

  2. Insulating hives over winter (Garry)  Ornate rooves not only dress-up your hives, they also shed surface moisture quickly, while providing a cavity that when filled with insulating material, helps raise the temperature of the hive lid a few degrees, reducing condensation within the hive. In this case, the ubiquitous plastic shopping bag has been repurposed for the task.

  3. Reducing condensation in hives (Garry) Filled with wood shavings, this new ‘quilt’ design for Langstroth hives reduces winter condensation to negligible levels, by absorbing moisture from warm rising air, while simultaneously creating a warm dry buffer-zone between hive lid and the colony below.

  4. Helping a late season swarm survive over winter (Fay) I captured a small swarm in mid-March, and to my surprise the queen proved to be very active producing healthy, calm brood – so killing her and combining the swarm with an established hive over winter was out of the question.

Lyall and Graham came up with a great idea. This involved relocating the swarm into a standard 8 frame box with a screened bottom board, and placing it on top of one of my strong hives to allow warm air from the bottom hive to rise into the colony above. The two hives were further separated by a screened board to prevent bees from both hives attacking each other.

The final important step was feeding.  I’d had good success with sugar blocks under the lid of the nucleus box, so inserted one full frame sugar block into the brood box. This was consumed with great gusto as you can see from the photo below taken 6 weeks later.

Spring Workshops

The next Beginning in Bees Workshops will be held on 23rd and 24th September, and once again thanks to Graham for leading the course. We’re also planning to hold a Maintaining Your Hives Workshop for people who already have some experience in beekeeping on 21st October – see more details next month.  There’s a flyer for the September workshops attached so if you know anyone interested please email them a copy of this month’s Members Update.

August ABA Council Meeting

The next meeting of the ABA Council will be held in Nowra on Sunday 6th August and up to 3 or 4 members from each member club are able to attend. Lyall will be driving up on Saturday 5th and can give anyone a lift there and back. It you’re interested in going please contact Lyall on

Trivia Night

Friends of the Old Bega Hospital will be holding a Trivia Night at the Bega Country Club, Tarraganda, on Saturday, 29th July starting at 7 pm, to raise funds towards restoration of the Old Bega Hospital. If you’re interested in joining a table of fellow beekeepers please contact Suellen on no later than Monday 24th July. The cost is $10 per person and drinks will be at bar prices.  BYO nibbles and snacks. There will be lucky door prizes, a cake auction and spot prizes throughout the night.

August Meeting Learning Topic – All about swarms

As you can see our spread in July was amazing – many thanks to everyone who brought a plate.

As you can see our spread in July was amazing – many thanks to everyone who brought a plate.

Garry will be explaining what to do to prevent swarming, how to catch swarms and the various swarm catching techniques and equipment that can be used.

As always there will be plenty of time after the presentation to catch up with other members over supper.  


Tip for the month - Ant Sentinel

Ant sentinel

Ant sentinel

As swarming begins with the onset of warmer weather, so too ant numbers explode, often resulting in real problems for bees and beekeepers alike.  Of the two approaches most often used to control ants – barriers and baits – when cleverly deployed baits are most efficient, killing the whole nest while posing no threat to bees or other insects.

Take a small plastic container with a clip-on lid and, turning it upside-down, make 2 or 3 small holes in the wall close to ground-level. Place a few stones in the container to weight it down, and on one of the stones, add a small amount of Talon Ant Gel. Placed alongside your hive/s this simple safe and unobtrusive Ant Sentinel will protect your hives for months.

If you have some useful tips to share for the next edition of Members Update please email them to Fay at

Next Club Meeting

Tuesday 8th August 2017, 7 pm

at the Meals on Wheels Rooms Bega

‘Preventing and Catching Swarms’ – presentation by Garry Mallard

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

If yes please send your contribution to Fay at

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 Fay on 0423889486 or or

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

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