My wife, son and I have purchased a brand new Flow Hive 2 that is due in October, this Hive is going to be set up on a White Gum Forrest in Collie. However we also purchased a entry level 3 Frame Hybrid to set up in our backyard at home.
I am really looking for some general advice on the following and anything else that someone new to beekeeping should know about in Perth.
Where to get my bees? For both my local Perth Hive and my larger Hive in Collie.
What beekeeping group or club should I join if I live in the northern suburbs of Perth?
We have a medium backyard with a tramp, large grass area and bushes but I am unsure where to set up and if it will be safe for both my 3 yr old son and our neighbors.
Any advice and help would be great! Our smaller Hive is on the way and will be delivered next week. We are very eager to get started.
This recently released manual from Oregon Uni in the US will help stimulate your thoughts on keeping the hive, considerations on where to site it and look after it. Just remember that it is a Northern Hemisphere publication and in WA we have no real nasty pests and only one or two diseases to be concerned about.
WAAS and those you meet through it will help with sourcing a nuc.
Hi Jackson, with regards to location we have a full flow and a hybrid plus many native bee hives on our suburban block.We have them in a semi shaded position facing north. Think about where you walk in the yard as all the bee traffic is in front of the hive. We have kids cubby house behind the hives.Don’t place in direct sight of house lights or if not possible then plant bushes or in our case a 1 metre black shade cloth screen about 1 metre in front blocks any light from the entrance at night and also directs the bees up and over any pathway. We also put wire mesh around the area with a small entrance so no kids can walk in directly. Leave your self space either side so you have room to place the super or brood box during inspections. Have a shallow water source in the yard but not directly near the hive. This forum has some great experienced bee keepers more than happy to help.
I live in the northern suburbs of Perth. For your suburban hive, unless you live on a big block, first I’d suggest is having a chat with your neighbours as they are likely to have an opinion (assuming you aren’t at loggerheads with them and you can have a reasonable discussion).
Second, northern and eastern exposure is preferable but for where you live (northern suburbs of Perth) it isn’t going to be critical (i.e. my hive has southern exposure but is protected from most of the winds). It would be more important to ensure the area isn’t too wet in winter and isn’t too exposed to strong winds.
Third, consider the flight path. As already mentioned, it’s the front of the hive that is going to be your biggest issue. If the flight path becomes an issue erect a barrier (circa 1.8-2.1m tall) in front of the hive to force the bees up. You can actually install this really close to the front of hive and have no issues, but I’d suggest no closer than about 15cm, just to ensure you’ve got some kind of access if you need it for your hands.
Fourth, think of the ergonomics associated with inspections. Your super will be quite heavy when full, and to facilitate a full brood inspection (yes, a flow hive doesn’t negate proper husbandry) you will need to remove your super.
Fifth, make sure you have bee friendly water source in close proximity to your hive. Within 5m is good. On a hot summer day the bees could easily go through a couple of litres of water fanning the hive.
As far as procuring your bees, BeeWise and Guilfoyles are common places to buy them. You can also get them from Gumtree, or perhaps even a swarm. If you haven’t ordered them get on the phone now (ask for a Nuc [nucleus colony]) or start looking around. Someone at WAAS might be doing a split soon and they might also be able to help you out.
Finally, assume you’ll get no honey this year. Take the time to learn. If you get honey this season it will be a bonus that you can be happy about; it really depends on when your bees…and don’t add the super to the brood box too son (wait until the brood box has all the frames 80% covered in bees and it looks like you’d struggle to fit more bees in [don’t worry, they’ll be able to pack more in…]). Oh, and bearding is normal.
And just to round this out, take a look at this other local thread (people are really good):
(that link will take you to the first post from 2016, the next link will take you to the last post)
Any questions, just ask. But keep in mind everyone will have a slightly different opinion so feel free to pick and choose.
Thank you so much for all the fantastic information. We are currently taking it all in and are very exited to start. We have signed up to WAAS and also have a local buddy who is going to help me out with bees and also training/installing.
We are going to install a pond out the front of the house to supply water, which should be around 15m from the Hive and away from access to pets and child.
The one thing we are researching now is what plants to put in to prepare for the bees. Do you have any advice on what the best plants are for here in Perth for our bees?
Hiya Jackson, being in Collie there’s plenty of forest around you for the bees, I’m guessing if you have a walk around you’ll see feral colonies up trees, being interested in beekeeping you’ll start seeing bees everywhere, native bees, wasps, flowers, all sorts, be warned…
Have a look around see what’s flowering now, if you’re planning on planting plant plants that flower when there’s a lack of flowers around. Sometimes natives aren’t the best option.
Having said that, bees fly anywhere in a 3km radius of the hive looking for forage, even more on a good day so what you’ll plant will be a drop in the ocean and overlooked during a flow.
Start reading there’s much to learn.