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Fixed apiary - farming or bush?


#1

So my husband and I have just had 2 weeks off work, which has coinsided with catching 3 swarms and having fun with our bees. This has led us to a crazy concept of buying a good 100+ acres of bush/land in Western Australia which we would then ‘enhance’ through planting of bushes, flowers Etc so that they have forage all year round. This leads me to my question in what would be a good purchase. Our list of requirements at the moment are:

Water all year round
Enough native trees on or near the property to keep the bees in food while we plant out extra yummies.

However, most of the blocks are mostly cleared which would mean planting out fields of crops/ bushes etc which I guess would be easier than planting in a Forrest. My question is if you could design your own block for bees would you go for cleared land or bush? Our plan is to have at least 2 things flowering at any one time to increase nutrician. We have a 10 acre block near Perth we are going to play with planting out bushes, flowers etc so we can scale up to a larger block if the urge stays.

Cheers,

Julia


#2

I think buying a hundred acres & returning it to native bush is a great idea, especially if you were planting leptospermum species. I wonder if you can generate any side income through carbon credits?
I like the idea of planting lots of Bunya trees today so that future generations have a reliable food source tomorrow. I don’t think Bunyas produce honey, but honey producing species can be planted between the trees.


#3

Hi Jingles,
A great concept and very worthwhile.
It would help if you could locate near a citrus orchard or lavender farm or the like.
My bees really go for lavender also passionfruit .
Good luck


#4

See if you can get a block within a couple of kilometres of the bush. That way you can plant your trees/bushes and the bees can forage on the bush.

Cheers
Rob.


#5

Thanks all for some super tips :slight_smile:

We are for sure checking out satellite images of property & trying to find one bordering ideally state forest & it would be good to have some cleared land for plantation (eg jellybush, Manuka, lavender, clover etc). I was trying to work out how to get organic certification, but that requires no farming/orchards within 5km which would be very hard to achieve and may well change depending on neighbours. I hadn’t thought of going the other way and buying near a citrus orchard or lavender farm - excellent plan :slight_smile:

Cheers,

Julia


#6

Usually a 100 acre property would be a mix of pasture perhaps 75% and 25% native vegetation.
The thing about Eucayptus trees is they ready grow from seed. Early in our properties life (on just 7.3 ha ) we were planting around 1000 trees a year all grown from seed we either purchased or collected from trees we liked.
You need a good water supply (boar or spring) a large shade house or two a lot of 175mm pots (we had about 3000) and seed trays. Seed in Sept-Oct transplant seedling to pots in March and grow those on to plant the following Winter when they are around a 1-1.5 m tall. We are not purists and while planting considerable local species, we have grown trees from all around Australia. Some died (particularly the tropical ones) but were surprised in some that did grow.
Crikey I feel tired just thinking about the beginnings now.

Does need a lot of planning and reading in the beginning but worth it in the end. Good thing is that seed is very cheap and a failure not expensive. Edited cheep LOL.


#7

Carbon credits - great idea - I must investigate :slight_smile:


#8

I heard someone has started importing manuka bushes into WA for the purposes of making high value honey.


#9

They are down in Manjimup. I think that the weather down there might be quite good for Manuka and we’re planning on contacting the company to see how they are going. I think they are 3-5 years off commercialisation but they may do better on our block than the jellybush from tropical Queensland (apparently the local ones don’t have the precious ‘active nectar’). - I guess it is going to be trial and error. Will be a fun experiment to carry out on our little block.


#10

One thing I would take into consideration is that particularly in WA you have an incredible number of endemic plants, if you are planting other species it’s worth considering which, native or exotics may be weed species. Local councils usually have lists of plants which are becoming an issue. It’s important because weed species impact on all aspects of an ecology & you have an incredible opportunity to support endemic species of flora & fauna, &…WA also has amazing native bees. So whilst creating the ideal honeybee locale you could also be enriching the ‘locals’’ habitat. :grinning:


#11

Absolutely :). We have spent the last 5 years trying to irradiate toxic weeds from our property & every year a new one appears, so I think we’ll be trying to keep things balanced and definitely avoiding anything from South Africa! I know very little about native bees, but there are a few around our block, which seem to go for some of the native plants that the honey bees ignore. We have horses, so I am looking to plant things near the riding arena that the honey bees won’t like much, but the natives will. Our current plan is kangaroo paw for the natives with lavender further back to attract all the Europeans - will hopefully keep everyone safe & provide a bit of food for all.

Cheers,

Julia


#12

You will find native bees also like lavendar. The blue banded native bees like lavendar and tomato plants. They have a ‘buzz pollination’ technique (sounding more like a wasp than a bee). I think they are also very good for cucumbers, and a number of native plants require ‘buzz pollination’.

Also consider something like Kennedia Nigracans. It is a prolific vine, a good nectar source, and it flowers in winter.

Lullfitz Native Nursery is a great place to start looking for information on plants. They have fact sheets that identify certain plants as being ‘bee attracting’.


#13

This idea is amazing! I just want to see what will happen soon if that dream come true .
As an Indonesian, I see beekeepers in Australia are so lucky, thank to your hard working Bio Security Department there is still no Varroa there, also Australia have huge area of foraging, plentiful information, long tradition in beekeeping, good government support, etc. I also enjoy some benefits from your country, especially in term of beekeeping information.

This is some information that may help you, good luck :slight_smile:
https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/downloads/12-014