Hi All! So, this is our first attempt at a blog/newsletter/update. It probably has some cool abbreviated acronym these days, but for now I will stick to blog?! So many people have expressed interest in beekeeping of late, that we though a little update from time to time may be of interest for beginners or those who just love all things BEE! I really should work on a cliche` name for this page, like ‘The Buzz’ ‘Hive Times’ ‘The Daily Drone’, better suggestions welcome!🙂🐝
With help from the family, I will simply report the in outs and upside downs (which there are many) of our month-to-month apiary operation.
A really brief history to start: We are a family owned and operated apiary business, with approximately 900 hives. Half the hives forage the beautiful flora of Bruny Island, the other half are located on sites in the picturesque Huon Valley right through to Lake Peddar and everywhere in-between. We move them to chase the blossoming flower trail. Collecting Bush, Manuka, Prickly Box, Fennel, Leatherwood, Blue Gum and Carrot. We do some pollination for farmers at the start of spring. Dad (Graham now 76) started with two hives more than 25 years ago and slowly one by one the family quit their jobs and joined what is now known as The Honey Pot & Bruny Island Honey. We extract, hand pack and market all our own produce, which may sound glamorous – but it’s not! Back breaking lifting, ridiculous early mornings, honey in your hair, no amount of cleaning stops that stuff spreading like a sticky tsunami. But a great lifestyle none the less.
This year has obviously had it challenges, and do you know what – that’s all I’m going to say about that! The C word will not get another mention, because to be honest, we are sick of it! Please let’s go back to mindless “great weather today” “it’s a bit nippy today isn’t it” chat instead. Even better let’s talk dogs! Dogs in this family are just as or more important than the bees, throughout this blog I will slowly introduce each one, October’s calendar dog is the newest addition ‘Tully’, see picture below, how bloody adorable is she!!
The start of Spring brings phone calls from local cherry orchardists, this is generally our first move for the spring-summer season. Pollination jobs bring in some much need cash flow from a generally quiet Tassie winter, which is great, however we simply get no honey off the cherries and the blossom is very short lived.
We have already this month re-queened and split 200 hives. This process we do most years, to minimise swarming behaviour and increase vigour and health of the colony. The royalty is sent to us through mail from NSW, each queen travelling in a little mesh cage with some ‘escort’ bees to tend to her. She and the escort are placed in the hive. One end of the box has a hole filled with “queen candy”, a solidified mixture of icing sugar and water. The worker bees on the outside of the cage eat through the candy in a few days, and release the new queen and her escorts. By the time this occurs the bees are used to their new queen and she is accepted by her new family, and they live happily ever after….well mostly!
It has been relatively wet down here in TAS to date, which has made everything luscious and green and the plants in everyone’s garden are loving life. However, we are praying now for some nice hot days so the bees can get out and do a decent day’s work. The Blue Gum is starting to bloom and shortly the other gums will hopefully take off too. Fingers crossed for an abundant honey flow in the months to come.