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Some beekeeping questions.

Home Forums FOOD PRODUCTION, HARVEST AND STORAGE BEE Keeping Some beekeeping questions.

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    OK. I would like to set up a couple of hives and then increase as we go and I gain my confidence.

    I would like to do this because I want to aid in their protection and I thought it would be a good way for people to monitor their situation at least in our area. I also lurve honey with all of my heart and would like to know that it is beeeeing (hahahahaha) ethically produced.

    I am very wary of taking too much honey so would only do it a minimum number of times a year, but have more hives so they all only lose a tiny amount. I was thinking once or twice a year, but then I was told you can do it year round….. how often do you take it and how much per hive in one go?

    My other dilemma is what bees….. I have spent 12 years arguing against taking animals from the wild for personal (or business) gain, but is that better in regards to protecting them or even because they will be more resiliant then bees that have been bred for their docility. ( a word? hmmmmm is now!) Ahhh what to do…..

    What bees did you choose and why?

    ALso where can I get second hand equipment from in SA?



    I keep a blog about our small apiary (we have 4 hives).

    some things we do to keep our hives healthy;

    we don’t migrate them – they stay in the one place

    we only take 50% of the full frames in each hive (leaving plenty for the bees)

    we do check them weekly to manage small hive beetle (change beetle traps etc)

    we harvest when it suits the bees, not us. here the heavy rain and overcast conditions of the past 12 months have meant a small honey yield this year

    some thoughts;

    maybe start with more hives, say up to four… because when you do have all your honey harvesting equipment out its a lot of cleaning and it would be a lot of work for only one or two hives

    find a local beekeeper who does things ethically – we learnt from permaculture teacher Max Lindegger here in Queensland

    learn as much as you can about them

    we grabbed what hives we could – not many around here for sale – don’t take on a run down hive either – buy one that is healthy and active. so we didn’t choose which bees to keep, we just bought healthy hives

    don’t skimp on protective gear – buy a good quality suit, veil and gloves. then you can focus on what your doing, not getting stung

    and if you don’t overwork the hives the honey sells very quickly and you get pre-orders!

    as for taking animals from the wild… word in the bee world is that most wild nests will be wiped out here in Qld by the Asian bee, so its the local beekeepers who monitor these types of things and hopefully help protect what we can

    as for second hand equipment, we got lucky at the local tip shop – but find your local beekeeping group and see if they have any gear for sale – but it is hard to come by as a lot of people are getting into beekeeping now.

    good luck with it, its well worth it – its a whole new world being a beekeeper




    cheers! great blog!


    I am in the process of looking into beekeeping …what i have looked at so far top bar hives appeal to me more..its cheaper,harvesting seems easier and more suited to me and the way i do things..anyone out there using top bar hives?


    Mashelly, we use traditional hives, Ive heard that you will get a smaller amount of honey from the top bar hives and its harder to extract. I havent meet anyone yet who uses the top bar hives but seems alot of people are interested in it.


    I run top bar hives. I think extraction is way easier and less expensive as the extractor is not necessary. The $2 shop bread knife beekeeping tool, a bucket and $5 of synthetic swiss voile from spotlight is all you need to harvest and a large jar or recepticle for honey storage. Cut the harvested combs into the bucket, cover with cloth to keep the bees away, relocate to a working area away from the hives, place crushed comb (hands work great) in the cloth which suspends over the jar or recepticle container. A few days hanging lets about 92% of the honey to “cold-filter” through and a week will get you 97-98% cold filtered honey with no heat treatment and all the aroma and flavour in tact.

    I’ll not knock anyones choice so get what setup you want or others near you that will help you can deal with.

    I don’t have the time to focus on establishing hives on the new property so this season all hives are outside and set up empty save lots of wax and propolis smell from used top bars being in place. If wild swarms of bees take up residence great! If not, I’ll hopefully have the free time next year to actively populate them. I’m also registered with the shire as a swarm removalist so that could be another source of freebies 🙂

    Top bars are less costly to run but will be more frequent short-timed maintenance of lifting a bar or two and checking for cross-comb and correcting early if you don’t have follower boards (spacers really) to help guide the bees to make everything straight as they free form build their custom combs.

    I would recommend forum if interested in top bar beekeeping, there is an iTunes podcast, lots of knowledgable folk around the world top bar beekeeping.

    I don’t have much forum time being time poor currently setting up the new property to be on forums much lately, even ALS.




    I am so glad that this came up – I was looking at these! Thanks for all your info PeterD and good luck with setting up your property!

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