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Newbie to beekeeping, tbh in sydney

 
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stephanieprag
New Bee


Joined: 03 Aug 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:16 am    Post subject: Newbie to beekeeping, tbh in sydney Reply with quote

Hello all,

I am new to the world of beekeeping and was hoping for some help if there is anywhere out there with experience of top bar hives in sydney. I have almost finished building my structure (made of marine grade plywood-- hoping that the bees like this!?) and have been following the phil chandler plan. he says that top bars should be 38mm wide, is there any variation for the bees in australia? at the moment we are debating whether to do native stingless or introduced european species.

also would it be worthwhile constructing the top bars out of something like western red cedar rather than plywood?

thanks so much! Laughing
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stephanieprag
New Bee


Joined: 03 Aug 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

also, any comments/suggestions about tweaking the hive to sydney conditions are very welcome!! if you have any hints please let me know!
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HowieNZ
Nurse Bee


Joined: 18 May 2014
Posts: 33
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, I am not in Sydney but have one suggestion. Marine Ply is treated with synthetic compounds to protect the wood from rot. These compounds will leach and the bees may not appreciate it. So since the hive has been built perhaps if you coat it with Phils mixture of 20 to 1 Raw Linseed bees wax it may help stop the leaching. Good Luck.
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stephanieprag
New Bee


Joined: 03 Aug 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks so much for the tip!! i will definitely be doing this!
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Permabee
New Bee


Joined: 04 Aug 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Stephanie,

I'm researching building a hive in Central Coast, so not all that far from you... Just wanted to put up a hand and say 'hi'!

Unfortunately I'm still at the reading stage, so I can't really help with materials or specs. However I've noticed that there are lots of different recommendations for bar width, for instance one site recommended 32-34mm for African bees 36-38mm for European bees and 29-31 for 'apis cerana (whatever that is). I'm not sure if any of that might apply to native bees, but clearly there are very definite species-based sizes.

Best of luck with your journey...
cheerio
Jen
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stephanieprag
New Bee


Joined: 03 Aug 2014
Posts: 5
Location: Sydney Australia

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jen, so great to hear from another newbie not so far away! Thanks for your advice. I am tempted to go with European bees since they produce such a good yield of honey and there is lots of information about them, however I do feel there is a duty to support the stingless native bees since their population is dwindling. If only there was a bit more literature about them!
Anyway, if I find anything useful out I will be sure to let you know. Smile
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Permabee
New Bee


Joined: 04 Aug 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Stephanie,
it's lovely to know someone not far away is doing TBH as well... (Though I'm a long way behind you... And not very crafty with wood, so it's going to be, er, interesting.)

Aren't the stingless bees wonderful? My dad used to bring honey down from Qld. It was more like a liqueur than honey. But there was never a lot, so... Yep, Euro it might have to be.

Best regards,
Jen
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello to both of you, from across the ditch. Welcome to the foray.

First off, your stingless natives. Try and do some research on keeping these, try to find other keepers of and see about the do's & don'ts. There may be rules regarding keeping endangered natives or they may require more specialised keeping practices.
It might be easier to start with European Honey Bees until you find your feet proper and are well entrenched in bee keeping.

For housing. Seeing as how marine ply has already been used, look at sealing the inside of the hive somehow. The treatment used on this material to make it marine grade is not too friendly to living things in enclosed spaces.
The major thing for you to watch is your Summer heats and comb collapse. Think insulation over the top bars and ventilation.
There is an active member here from Queensland, he will be able to advise much better than I can from the cold of the lower South Island of NZ.
I recommend you both make contact with him and discuss keeping in Australian conditions so you are better prepared before your bees arrive.

http://www.biobees.com/forum/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=6025

Is a link to his profile.
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Permabee
New Bee


Joined: 04 Aug 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi J Smith,
thanks for the kind info.

I have to admit, I'm very worried about heat. 46C two years ago was frightening. I nearly got in the car and drove across the Tasman. (Went to The Hobbit instead, 3 and a half hours of cool -- well, I was desperate.) Maybe I could take pocketsful of bees next time. Laughing

One of the slightly less silly (though that's probably questionable) ideas I've had is to increase thermal mass by making the body out of long straight sticks laid endwise and then mudded or 'cloomed'. This idea has the advantage of using up our biggest weed, which is privet. I got the idea from going into a pet shop to try to sell some of my over-breeding guinea pigs, and seeing those little houses that are made of sticks drilled through with curved sections of wire.

Can you tell I'm not very technical? I did make a straw bee skep before I read further and realised they were actually illegal (well... illegal to keep bees in). So that's sitting on the water tank looking forlorn and abandoned. It would probably make a reasonable potato hamper...

Oops -- I tried to include a link to a photo of my potato skep, but I need 5 posts first... You'll just have to believe.

Jen Smile
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jen,
It is in fact perhaps a rather good train of thought- the sticks & mud hive, for warmer climates.
Do some internet research into Tanzanian and Kenyan top bar hives, adobe style mud hives are still used in simple village bee keeping, especially in areas where tress are few and far between.
You will have to experiment a little with your local clays & muds. Make sure ones you decide to use actually hold form when dry and do not crumble or revert to mud in the rain.
Also make sure of the final hive position and build it there- mud & sticks is going to make you a heavy hive.
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stevecook172001
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good way to seal the inside of the hive is with dissolved natural shellec flakes. You just dissolve them in methylated spirits. It takes about 3 days for them to dissolve, 10 minutes to apply to the inside of the hive with a brush, 10 minutes to be dry to the touch and a day or so for any residual smell of the spirits to have gone completely. The bees seem to like it. Possibly because it mimics the properties propolis somewhat.
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Permabee
New Bee


Joined: 04 Aug 2014
Posts: 4
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much J Smith, the idea of building in situ is great (I would have struggled to get it up the hill).
I'll experiment with mud too. Great sense again.
Meanwhile off to do some reading into Tanzanian and Kenyan hives.
Once again, thank you! Smile

Sorry Stephanie, I've hijacked a little bit... Smile
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let us know what you come up with, take photos and share them here. Will be interesting to see if your house of mud and sticks is a viable bee home.
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mrwaltner
House Bee


Joined: 15 Sep 2012
Posts: 15
Location: Mt Gambier, SA, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't logged onto the boards in a while but just had to chime in here - I keep TBH and Warre in Mt Gambier, SA, and we got the 46 degree days here too.

The bees make lots of lateral connections to deal with the heat. They attach to the walls and between the combs. This is fine by me: I only go in for a spring check, a summer honey harvest, and a fall check, or if I see evidence of disease of some sort (I haven't). If you want to open the hive up more often it could be a pain though, because, at least in my case, it involves lots of delicate cutting to make sure things don't fall apart. You've got small hive beetle in your area so I'm not sure how that will affect things. It's a learning experience anyway! I move to Warre because they're easier to manage.
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just noticed the post. I would be very careful with the stick and mud idea. Make sure you get the sides really smooth to stop refuges for the small hive beetle.

Native bees require a very different hive so your TBH defines you as a honey bee keeper.

Don't worry too much about your woodworking abilities, the bees won't mind. Just make sure your lid makes a verandah around the hive and you can put a layer of insulation under it in summer. Just a simple box with some gauze on the bottom with bag or woodshavings will give you insulation. I like the bag as its not so messy.

Cheers
Rob.
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Susannah
New Bee


Joined: 30 Sep 2014
Posts: 1
Location: Canberra Australia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Permabee -

I'm interested to know where you got your information that straw bee skeps are illegal to keep bees in?
I am not doubting you! I was looking to make some and see how they went but if it is illegal?
Do you know if that is a NSW law or Australia wide?
Thanks
Susannah
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rmcpb
Scout Bee


Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 447
Location: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skeps are illegal in Australia because the frames must be removable to allow inspection. Top bar hives are legal because you can inspect each bar individually.

Cheers
Rob.
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Jasbee
Nurse Bee


Joined: 18 Nov 2014
Posts: 39
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Native Australian stingless bees are wonderful to keep but have different requirements in a hive. They won't go in a standard beehive - it is much too big and they build their hives differently. Ours are in a modified OATH hive. They are vey easy to keep - next to no work. This book: Australian Stingless Bees by John Klumpp is a great resource if you are interested. You can keep both - we will be as soon as we get our European honey bees.

Rob my interpretation of

Apiaries Act 1985 No 16
Current version for 1 January 2014 to date (accessed 2 November 2014 at 08:15)
Part 4Division 1Section 14
<< page >>
14 Bees to be kept in frame hives

(1) A person shall not keep bees, or allow bees to be kept in an apiary, except in a frame hive.
Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units.

is that Topbars are also not legal in NSW (I understand there are in other states). I'd love to be corrected as I'd prefer a topbar so if you have any info as their status in NSW please share, thanks.
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