Mid North Coast newsletter - August 2017

August 2017

Last Meeting

The last meeting was held at Fay and Frank's place at Coffs Harbour on the 13thJuly.

It was a beautiful day as has every day been lately, gosh we could do with some rain!

62 members, associates and family were present, including several new members.

There are a lot of people to thank for the day going so well. Firstly our hosts Fay and Frank for holding the meeting and for the great hive inspection. Secondly, our new secretary, Phil for doing such a fantastic of job of setting up all the gear from the trailer. Thanks to Lou for running the show, and thanks to John Kohler for cooking the snags, and there was plenty of them, and to Bernadette for doing such a good job with the raffle. Thanks also to our speakers on the day – Anne, Don, Alan and John, and Leeanne and Michael for the Honey- crush and drain demo. And last, but not least, thanks to all those who worked so hard in the kitchen.

A brief business meeting was held, which included the Treasurer's report.

The new ABA banner and the success of the suggestion box were discussed.

Hive Inspection

Thanks to Felix who took some notes from the apiary inspection.

  • A few small hive beetle present.
  • Drone cells starting to appear.
  • Some queens lay to the top of the comb.
  • 3 different colours of pollen being collected.
  • Some old combs need to be switched out. Swap some combs every year
  • Hives were weak because they had been split hard last summer.
  • Keep combs in the same order this time of year after the cold.
  • Old combs go into the honey super, to be extracted.
  • Bees don’t like petrol fumes
  • F&F always use a queen excluder. -Queen excluder gets cleaned in the solar wax melter
  • Don’t leave burr comb and wax scrapings laying around. Can promote robbing.
  • The queen will generally be in the centre of the frame of open brood/eggs
Frank at work - 1

Frank at work - 1

Frank at work - 2

Frank at work - 2

With a very busy schedule for the day, it was necessary to have Leeanne's demo at the same time as the inspection.

Crush and Drain Extraction

If you don't have an extractor, this is an easy way to extract honey from the comb.

Leeanne used plastic frames which meant the comb could easily be scraped off with a paint scraper and placed in a large saucepan. With wax frames it would be the same except the comb is cut out. In the saucepan the honey laden comb can be crushed with a potato masher and then strained through a seive or cloth into a suitable container or honey bucket.

New Rules for Beekeeping

Anne Webster talked about the new rules for beekeeping, introduced by the DPI on July 1st. The Apiaries Act 1985 and other agricultural acts have been repealed and we beekeepers are now governed by provisions of the NSW Biosecurity Acy 2015.

These changes are aimed at minimising the impact of pests and diseases on the NSW apiary industry. The main changes are to fees and reporting of Notifiable Pests and Diseases.

Please go to the DPI website or the ABA journal at beekeepers.asn.au for more info.

AFB or suspected AFB must be reported within 24 hours.

For AFB and other notifiable pests and diseases, beekeepers are advised to contact authorities by phone 1800 084 881 or email quarantine@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Please Note: You are legally required to report these problems

AFB, European Foulbrood, Nosema, Small Hive Beetle, Chalkbrood

Though SHB and Chalkbrood seem endemic, they need to be reported for, among other reasons, export requirements. There is no harm done by notifying.

Spring Management

Don discussed how to manage you hives with Spring just around the corner.

Don Wood- who has made himself available to assist members with their hives if required.

Don Wood- who has made himself available to assist members with their hives if required.

  • Have your foundation ready to go
  • monitor bees regularly
  • The season this year is not flash
  • When putting in new foundation, put itin middle of box, separated by one or two frames of brood. This way it does not stress the queen.
  • the bees could be getting a lot of pollen but no nectar. So they are inclined to swarm. Check regularly.
  • as the flow starts, they will move honey up into the super
  • Don’t put brood frames up into super (Don’s view, not shared by Allan)
  • Change out 2 old brood frames each year, so over 4 years the whole lot has been recycled. This is because when bees hatch they leave a membrane which builds up over time inside the cell.
  • Forest Red gums not budded. Even though dry, Australia Natives will throw buds. Blackbutt has mostly budded and flowers in Sept- March. Black butts grow to 70m( so a big biomass), but can become toxic.
  • Beekeeping is a disease!!!!!!
  • Give the bees room, and room for the queen to lay
  • Don’t feed bees yet. If you see the crescent of honey, it is still okay.
  • Put a second super on, only if you are getting honey.
  • Feed pollen if no pollen in hive
  • Can’t breed bees if they don’t have pollen

Swarm Prevention

Al Thomas

Al Thomas

Al Thomas spoke about reducing the chances of the hive swarming

They are catching swarms in Tamworth already. Here on the coast it will happen soon, and in Armidale in 4/6 weeks time.

  • Swarming has to do with pollen supply. Keep a look out for pollen stores
  • Don’t allow the brood box to get crowded.
  • Sign of swarming is,  if population is building and there is pollen and nectar you need to give the queen room to lay.
  • Young queens less likely to swarm. Commercial beekeepers requeen every year.
  • You could end up with a line of bees that will always swarm ( Their lineage)
  • Well ventilated boxes reduce swarming tendencies.
  • To reduce congestion:-
    •           Look at front of hive. Read what is going on. Are there sick or dead bees?
    •           Could lift back end of hive, to check weight, compare to what it normally is, as to whether it is building up.
    •           use smoke
    •           Check frames in the top box
    •           take off super and excluder
    •           pull out second frame from the end
    •           queen will lay up to the frame that contains honey. This frame might only have honey on the one side, so turn it around and face the empty side to where the queen is.  Give her room.
    •           put some brood frames up into super, and new frames into brood box
    •           Find queen cells. Split hive, using frames with queen cells . Can reduce queen cells to the strongest (biggest) one, or leave them all on , and let them sort it out. Best to split into a nucleus, with some honey and drawn comb. Don’t have to take kms away. Maybe just 20m.  Bees won’t be up to foraging stage yet, so will stay in hive.
    •           Demaree Method.   Uses a Demaree board. A good method if you have a double brood box. Check out resources in library for more details.  

John Carroll: Shaker box

  • The Demaree boards mentioned above are good, for swarm control and for breeding, by leaving a good queen downstairs and a new virgin queen upstairs.
  • Black queens are harder to find.
  • Shake bees into a shaker box. A box with a queen excluder attached to the bottom. Put box onto an empty box, and Shake bees in and the queen will be wandering around on the excluder.

Mesh Bottom Boards (John is hooked on these)

  • good for ventilation and beetles don’t like them.
  • In the bottom board, put tin in a strip in the first 1/3, and tin in the back 1/3, and mesh in the middle.
  • ( while talking, John was under attack by bees. Frank’s solution was to spray water around him)
  • ( The club will buy some mesh for members to buy)
mesh bottom board.jpg
mesh bottom board 2.jpg

Supplementary feeding

  • use sugar syrup.
  • if need to feed pollen, mix pollen/soya powder with 50/50 mix of sugar and water.  This has become evident from bees that were feeding on Patterson’s Curse ( Salvation Jane).  It was found that adult bees don’t eat pollen, but those on Patterson’s curse were living longer, because they were harvesting and ingesting the pollen from the plant.
  • can make your own pollen substitute by using defatted soya flour.

Beekeeping Course

A 2 day course in Beekeeping Basics

  • 28 and 29 Oct 2017 - Bowraville
  • Venue:  Dowsett Inn Honey. Hosts – Rod and Shelly Dowsett
  • Tutor:  Allan Thomas
  • Workshop Fee: $345 per person

Includes a copy of The NSW DPI Bee Agskills Book plus you will assemble a frame and extract some honey to take home.

A bee suit will be provided for your use when working hives.

Participant numbers are kept small.

This two day workshop is a series of lectures and practical tasks. The course endeavours to develop sufficient knowledge, skills and confidence for you to begin keeping bees.

Allan, your facilitator, has had approximately 40 years bee keeping experience. As an Agricultural Science teacher, he was recognised with a National Excellence in Teaching Award. He has been the NSW DPI “Beginning in Bees” trainer for northern NSW for several years.

Catering by Rod and Shelly is included in the price.

Rod/Shelly 65648580 or email: admin@roddowsett.com

Bookings are Essential

Contact Allan: 0428 712587 or emailbeekeepingworkshops@gmail.com

Dowsett Inn Honey

Dowsett Inn is nestled in the bush approximately a 25 minute drive inland from Nambucca Heads and a few kilometres west of Bowraville.

Your hosts, Rod and Shelly Dowsett have been working hard to turn the relics of an old sawmill into a home and beekeeping business.

They have more than 50 hives, with intentions to double the quantity in the future.

In addition, Rod and Shelly have established a beekeeper’s supply business, providing equipment and materials to the public and fellow beekeepers.

The latest venture to supplement their livelihood is to provide quality courses to those wishing to gain experience and knowledge to begin keeping bees. To this end, they have invited Allan Thomas to run a course on October 28th and 29th, 2017.

This will be a fully catered, all equipment supplied course. Participant numbers will be kept small. Bookings for the course are essential and must be made at least 7 days prior.

In the Media

Here's some links to some Media stories on Bees

The Bees are Better, But they're Not All Right


Bees Are First Insects Shown to Understand the Concept of Zero


Glenn Locke  is our Facebook administrator.  Our Facebook page has 992 likes. It is about the Club.  No BS. Get on and like it.

Next Meeting

The next Meeting will be held at the home of Glen Locke and Anne Webster

  • Date: Sunday 10th September
  • Address : 235 Morrow's Road Nana Glen.
  • Phone: 0459 066297
  • Time: 10 am for 10:30 start
  • There will be a Hive Inspection so bring Protective clothing
  • Lunch: A BBQ lunch will be provided
  • Cost $5.00
  • What to Bring: Please bring a luncheon item and a dessert/morning tea item
  • A raffle prize would be greatly appreciated. This is a great way to raise funds for the club.
  • Also bring a chair anddon't forget your nametags


From Woolgoolga take Bucca Road from the Moonee turnoff on the Pacific Highway. Travel to Nana Glen on Bucca Road and cross the railway bridge just past Eastbank Road in the 50k zone. The first right immediately over the railway bridge is Morrow's Road.

From Coffs Harbour travel through Coramba and Nana Glen. Turn right at the Nana Glen school. Go over the river and up the hill past the Nana Glen hall. Turn left onto Morrow's Road just before the railway bridge.

From Glenreagh turn left at the Nana Glen school. Go over the river and up the hill past the Nana Glen hall. Turn left onto Morrow's Road just before the railway bridge.

We are 2.35 kms down Morrow's Road on the left.

Look for the "Honey for Sale" signs from Bucca Road.

Plenty of parking in the horse paddocks in front of our little blue house.  Just go up the driveway & follow the signs.

For more Information

Contact – Mal Banks-  6649 0990

             - Phil Jury      -  6568 5655           

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

We have started a suggestion box.