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Eastern Sydney newbie questions


#1

Couldn’t find any threads from Eastern Sydney, so here goes…
I’ve got my hive, joined the local bee club, reading multiple books, but awaiting my nuc…oh the anticipation.
I’ve been stalking a couple of hives in an environmental park near by and there’s certainly a lot of activity even when it’s only 17degrees C.

Now, a few questions. (maybe these should be in the General topics section.
Assuming bees fly all year round in Coogee/Randwick. Do they actually produce honey or do they just get by?
When does flow “normally” start in coogee?
Have been reading about all the deseases and pests to look out for, but one thing i’d love to know is how often do these things effect hives?
How often do hives fail for any reason?
I have quite a small backyard so will only ever have one hive, so what are the chances that my first nuc will fail…for whatever reason?

cheers
Ron


#2

Welcome to the forum Ron,
I am located just to the north of Sydney close to middle harbour and can answer most of your queries.

Bees in the suburbs where you are do produce honey all year round, just depends on whats flowering and whether those flowers are producing nectar. Make a note of the flora i.e. the main trees and bushes as these will produce the food your bees need to survive. Currently in my area, stringybarks and scribbly gums are flowering and the bees are all over them.

We are about to come into spring so a nectar flow is expected in the next month or so, as I mentioned above, take note of the trees and shrubs, are they budding? Even across Sydney, the same flora can flower at different times of the year.

Without trying to alarm you, but pests & diseases occurs very regularly. Unfortunately there are a lot of unmanaged hives about which contribute to spreading the diseases, you will need to pay attention. AFB is the most serious and is the worst it has ever been at the moment. Hive beetles are not too bad due to the dry weather conditions however hives in coastal areas are more prone to having large numbers of beetles than hives on the western side of the mountains.

Hives rarely starve in our climate and location, AFB and the Hive Beetle (SHB) can devastate a colony in a short space of time. Saying that, I have never lost a hive to either which I put down to luck and vigilance.

In your climate, the only reason for a hive to fail will be AFB. Keep an eye on their food stores, ensure the queen is laying and keep them in a sunny dry position and you’ll be fine. You shouldn’t need to feed them, so only do so if their stores are low or non-existent… take photos of your brood frames when inspecting and write down what you see, notes & pictures will help you to build a history on their progress.
Rod


#3

thanks for the reply Rod. i was just looking at your web site yesterday.
there’s so much info i’m absorbing at the moment and it’s frustrating that beekeeping is SUCH and localised thing. what’s relevant for me in coogee can be different to someone only 10 or 20km away.
i’m sure we’ll be chatting again, i’ve read a lot of your comments on this forum.


#4

Keep us posted on your progress and journey. It will certainly be different to my conditions up here in the mountains with you on the coast, hence the interest. From my mate’s experience at Lake Macquarie, keep beetle traps in your hives. He is constantly emptying them but otherwise his hives are productive year round.

Cheers
Rob.