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Bees in the Blue Mountains (NSW)


Hi all, I’m brand new to bee keeping and just moved to the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney.
I noticed there isn’t a local bee-keeping group, though I have spotted honey at some of the markets, and intend to ask them about it next time I’m near. It’s also been suggested that I talk to the local community garden.
Is anyone here in the area?

How cold is cold for bees please? Blue mountains, NSW, Australia

hi I am interested to learn how to set up a hive too and I am in Blackheath. :slight_smile: I was looking these flow hives and wondering which bees would suit those hives and which would suit the upper Blue Mountains. What have you found?


Hi Guys,
Bathurst beekeepers are located on the western side and Nepean Beekeepers are in the east. Both are part of the Amateur Beekeepers Association (http://www.beekeepers.asn.au/). Italian and Caucasion bees are available in your area from Blayney or Orange and there is a package reseller in Mt Druitt.


We live at the base of the mountains, Sydney side.
Have you got your bees now?
We’ve done our first split (had them a year) and have modified a 8 frame langstroth to take 3 flowhive frames for the new hive. The frames should arrive Feb 2016. In the mean time we have a combination of foundation and foundationless frames in there.
Our first hive is a long langstroth hive. It contains mostly foundationless frames and is managed like a top bar hive (TBH). Liked the idea of a TBH but in NSW hives need frames and we weren’t making angled frames.
I know of a few beeks up the mountains so they are around - most love to talk bees so if you find local honey, buy some and start chatting. You’ll likely get a wealth of info from them.


Yes, I do now :slight_smile:
I got myself a package from Hornsby beekeepers


Hey, this is a bit of a late reply… but I was told that most of the standard bees would be fine in the Mountains. We get some cold - but not like even the UK, let alone places like northern Canada…Plus there’s another beekeeper in Wentworth Falls who has kept (I think it was Italian) bees for years and has had no problems.

So I went with Italian bees :slight_smile:

Did you settle on something?


@taryneast Taryn where possible you are better off with bees local to you when buying - that way you will know they are acclimatised to the locale.


sadly there aren’t any bee-suppliers in the mountains. only in Sydney - which has quite a different climate to where I live… so, I’ve gone with what I’ve gone with and we’ll see… hopefully they’ll learn to cope with frosts and occasional snow. I’ll try and keep them warm and not blown away. :wink:


But you must be able to buy bees from local apiarists? Put and advert up - you will be surprised


Hi Taryn, I’m confident you’ll be ok with bees from outside your area. There is a fantastic video on Youtube, the title is “The City OF Bees” by the Moody Institute of Science. In that video it shows how beautifully the bees cope with different extremes in outside temps. There’s a little bit of preaching at the start & a lot at the end. Ignore that if you wish, however the information about bee culture is brilliant, I reckon. cheers


AFAIK, there is only one apiarist inside the same microclimate as me and I had already bought the bees by the time I met him. There are a couple of newbies also joining me in this area.

The nearest bee club is in Western Sydney (a 45min highway drive away as well as being a different climate).

I’m hoping that there will now be sufficient numbers to start a local bee club.
I’ve noticed that there are literally no bees on most of the flowers in my local area - and I’m in a city that does very popular spring flower-shows and open gardens… so I’m not surprised to find that there are no local apiarists. The honey being sold at the local markets comes from 500km away (I asked).

I am really surprised by all this because my council area is so very full of hippie types - the kind of people into permaculture and vegan diets… There’s a community garden in the next suburb - but I don’t think they have bees. If I had nay spare time at all I’d go along to them and ask if I could set up an apiary… but they mostly meet during week-days… :stuck_out_tongue: (don’t really cater to people that actually have to work for a living :frowning:

So instead, I’ll have my own bees… and they’ll have their pick of all the flowers. :slight_smile:


Thanks Jeff - I’m glad to hear they’ll probably be just fine :smile:
I’ll definitely try to keep them comfy. The weather here really isn’t that extreme - probably better than Sydney (we don’t get quite so hot and nasty summers) - just a little bit of extra frost and snow to deal with in winter - but I’m sure they’ll cope :slight_smile:


Spot on Taryn, they’ll cope just fine and I think that you’ll find your bees probably originated from Blayney which just happens to have the title of the coldest place in NSW outside the Snowy Mtns. Perfect situation for bees as they’ll have the exotics as well as the blue mtns gums… gods earth for bees.


Hi Taryn, your welcome. My main point of putting the video up was to show how bees cope well in most conditions. Somehow, the bees just know what to do, regardless of what the weather &/or climate throws at them.


yeah - it’ll be great here for the bees. I’m especially looking forward to next early-spring with all the flower-festivals around here. Leura has one in October that I only just missed for these bees, but I noticed that all the trees in the main-street were some kind of ornamental flowering fruit tree - plums and cherries and apples etc. So next year I’m looking forward to great early flow :slight_smile:


Was looking at this thread and thought to mention a couple of things I do in winter. I am in central Iowa, US and we can get very cold and windy/snowy conditions…we can get to -30C…but fortunately, that has not happened yet and with el nino might not this winter. Anyway, I put up a snow and wind fence around the hives…about 15 feet out from them and this helps keep the howling winds and snow from hitting the hives directly. I use a 4’ tall green vinyl fencing material that allows some air to pass through it and mount it by using 6’ T fence posts every 8’ and 11" plastic ties to attach it to the snow fence and posts. I got all the stuff at a local big box store in my area. I also live on a farm, so I have access to lots of tools and things like that…e.g., you have to pound in the fence posts and there is a tool for that which makes it very easy.

I also put a few inches of sawdust in an empty deep that I put on top. This helps absorb moisture that would otherwise pass through to the hive and cause condensation on the inside top. I also keep an upside down feeding container of honey for the girls all winter just in case. Finally, I tip the entire hive forward just a bit so if there is condensation, it will drip forward and down the side, rather than on the cluster of bees. More bees die because of the cold drip than lack of food. This is not a flow hive, just a standard Langstroth. I have not received my flow hive yet and not sure how it will work in the winter here.

Finally, I put another entryway in the middle of the two lower brood boxes to help provide cross ventilation, lessen condensation and provide an exit when the snow blocks the lower entryway due to the ledge. The girls are VERY warm inside and take turns exiting with excrement during the warmest part of the day…even in winter. They just come outside for a short time to do their thing and then quickly go back inside.



Sounds like those winters are nasty.
I cover my wooden hives with PIR ( foil-backed insulation) Cosies with an extra 50mm on the crown board. Not a jot of condensation as no part of the hive is cold.
I wouldn’t worry about the flow hive. The brood part is like any other Lang, it’s just the frames in the honey super that are different and that isn’t on over winter.


In the winter we put up a tiny glassed in patio off the hive entrance, so the girls have someplace to sunbathe on the cool days ; -)


Ha ha…you can joke but at the moment I have a plastic container with some kitchen roll and a blob of honey on it with thirty bees I rescued, comatose, off the grass in front of the hives this evening.
All nice and warm and full…I’ll let them go in the morning. They will have tales to tell when they get home.


So they have their own little conservatory … thats cute