This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
A Personal View of Beekeeping Down
Under
Pam Gregory, NDB
A glimpse of what beekeeping is like in New South Wales, Australia
SEPTEMBER IN New South Wales, Australia is the
equivalent of March at home. Spring has officially
arrived, trees are coming into blossom and birds are
starting to nest. But there any similarity with the UK
ends and I am consumed with envy at the ease of
beekeeping in this area.
The temperature is already around 23 °C most days in this
drought-stricken area. Rainfall has been less than expected
for the past seven years or so – one wonders if this now
makes it the norm and in fact the climate has changed y
rpermanently – who can tell? Nonetheless, the bees seem to o
ger
Gthrive in the circumstances. The forest vegetation is
ma
Pplentiful, the clover and daffodils make a curious sight in
flower at the same time. There are European-style spring Spring blossoms in Tilba, NSW, Australia
blossoms together with bees buzzing on the indigenous is plenty of forage year round. At the other extreme another
bush plants and the bees are building up well. I would love
to see such large colonies of bees at the equivalent time of beekeeper, reportedly with several thousand hives, stated
year in my little patch of Wales. that once he’d been on pollination contracts to the first two
commercial crops of the season, he had made his breadLANGSTROTHS
and butter income so the rest was jam – or should I say
honey!Beekeeping is done using a standard Langstroth frame hive
system, sometimes using an ‘Ideal’ size frame which is half MANAGEMENT
the depth of the standard Langstroth, generally for supers.
Sometimes the 10-frame system is replaced with an 8-frame I was told not a great deal of winter feeding is required
system which makes the colonies lighter and therefore and the honey crops are expected to be 150 kg or more
easier to move. To some extent this depends on the annually. Swarm control is by lopping off queen cells,
amount of hive migration undertaken and the degree of giving the bees more work to do, and by taking off the
mechanisation being used honey crops regularly so colonies don’t get over-crowded.
to move the stocks and Queens are replaced on a regular basis. However, the
this, in turn, depends on thing that makes me most envious is the gentleness of
the size of the outfit. the bees.
The hobby beekeeper with These bees are an imported exotic species and there are no
between 1 and 100 hives aboriginal honey bees that would interbreed with the very
can easily stay put and not gentle Italian types used, making the resulting crosses
practise any migratory bad-tempered as happens here in the UK. The good
beekeeping because there weather and abundance of forage means that bees can be
worked without veils and bee suits – a condition which
entirely transforms beekeeping. I had seen pictures ofEucalyptus forests in the
Blue Mountains NSW people working bees in shorts and T-shirts but somehownever quite believed it.
SMALL HIVE BEETLE AND OTHER PROBLEMS
Of course not everything in the garden is rosy and
beekeepers were reporting new problems with the Small
Farming and bush country Hive Beetle that was discovered in Australia in 2002. This
in NSW can rapidly cause a weak colony to deliquesce into a soggy
Bee Craft digital January 2009 Page 17
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