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Honey in the hills


#1

Hi, Im in Roleystone and my bees arent really doing much in the flow frames. The queen is very productive and Ive had to replace a frame to give her more room, but there doesnt seem to be a nectar flow up here. Is anyone else having problems up here as well, what types of plants should I plant to help my girls. Ive had a lovely lady come up and do a hive inspection with me and she says they are great bees and my queen is doing well, so I know its not them.

Any help or suggestions would be great.

Thanks and happy new year.


#2

Hiya Sharon, although north of you in Goosie Hill I feel your pain. :wink: I have friends in Mt Lawley that harvest 9 months of the year! They get lots of honey but I prefer the honey up here as its more pure depending on what is flowering in the bush opposed to a mix match of flavours like theirs.
Yes they are slow up here but once the marri starts flowering look out! Hopefully we have a bumper this year like last.
Having said this I have in fact harvested 7 flow frames in the last two months, 6 frames from the last two days. The frames didn’t look full from the end however on inspection they were capped and ready. The BW colony was the best, 12kg @18% next the pot colony at 8kg @ 16%
For the record, they are Flow hybrid supers and have been on since August. No visible leaks with minimal bearding. Happy days. Yummy honey.
The other 3 colonys here have produced zip… Keeping them from swarming has been my greatest success so far. :slight_smile:
Late summer is our main flow.
How are you going @Jingles?


#3

Thanks Skeggley,

Thats great news, so jealous!

As this is my first year Im not sure what to expect or do to help. My girls are doing really well and are very healthy and happy, very placid girls indeed but wasnt sure how to help them with honey production. Weve got some big Marris around us so hopefully I wont be able to keep up with production. I was hoping to give honey away to family and friends as xmas presents. Next year fingers crossed.


#4

Your main problem will be keeping the honey until next Xmas. :slight_smile:
Last year was a particularly good marri flow possibly due to the spring rain. The previous 2 years were pitiful, some of the worst recorded according to some commercial beeks I’ve spoken to.
When I started, not so long ago, I thought I was in a prime position with all the bushland around. Now I can see why the commercials follow th flow. At least we havnt needed to buy honey this year. At the markets this morning I saw $12 kilo buckets for sale! I sell mine for $6 per 350gm jar to try and recoup some of the accrued costs but finish up giving more away than I sell…
Hopefully, and looking at the Marri’s budding, it will be a good year also.
Not sure how the jarrahs have gone, perhaps our resident plant expert @busso can fill us in. :wink:

We’re so lucky here in the West without the pests the others have to contend with.


#5

Our bees are doing pretty well but I think our summer dearth is hitting :frowning: All we have here flowering are the Christmas trees and I don’t think they have much nectar. The bee boxes are getting lighter as they eat some reserves so we have just resisted harvesting some partially capped flow frames. It is a big improvement on last year though as we had to feed syrup - at least they have enough of their own honey to get through till Marri flow.

The white gum (no idea what - I think various kinds of Wandu) are budding up too but last year they just fell off again - not sure if or when they should flower but I think the Marri should be starting in about a month up here.

Maybe this winter we’ll finally have time to plant some trees to fill this gap - I live in hope :smile:

I think my land here can maybe cope with 1 hive per 2 acres once established - a far cry from 3 hives per quarter acre that our city friends have!!!

Looking forward to seeing how we do when the Marri nectar flow starts - I think it will be a mission to have strong hives to harvest honey from but manage to prevent swarming at the same time!!

Cheers,

Julia


#6

We are lucky to have a Winter flowering of Jarrah on short part of the Wicher Ranges June-July.
Generally Jarrah flower else where Oct - Dec. Flowering this year was full on but seemed much a
shorter period than normal. Marri buds not caught my eye yet, but then I have not been looking for them. Marri flowering here mid Feb to late March.

Generally “White Gum” refers to Eucalyptus Wandoo but as Wandoo flower in Mar-Apr, I suspect what you have is Eucalyptus laeliae or the Darling Range Ghost Gum as they generally flower Late Dec- Feb.


#7

Hi,

I have planted bit and bobs (lavender, grevelia & bottle brush), but have concluded that the only way to make a significant difference to the flow will be through planting multiple trees to fill nectar gaps (which in Brigadoon seems to be November/December).

I just look around for what is flowering down on the flat and keep a bit of a list. At the moment there are a lot of red flowering gums so I think they will be good to plant. However, some gums do not flower every year, so it will take a trip to a nursery who knows their trees well to confirm what is going to be a good reliable source of nectar.

Good luck with the bees - there is no doubt in my mind that the bees do not like plastic foundation as much as wax but eventually they will start using the flow frames. Hopefully during the Marri flow things will take off.

Cheers,

Julia


#8

But Busso that was way back in October! My brain pushes a couple of weeks man! Spent youth… :slight_smile:
Up here it was much later and although I see jarrah honey for sale I’m a bit sceptical as I didn’t see much go on here, I’m thinking as Jingles said that the blossoms were aborted here which I’ve seen a few gums do this year.

Oh by the way Happy New Year all, hope it gets s a prosperous and productive one.


#9

Hi Skegley, thank you. Happy new year to you also & everyone else on the forum.


#10

Crickey, Sorry didn’t realize. :laughing:
Around the SW it was an early intense but unususally short flowering.
By contrast the Wicher range Jarrah in June had a heavy and unusually long flowering through to early August.

Happy New Year


#11

Thanks for all your help guys :slight_smile:


#12

@Sharon_Olesen I would suggest this list as a very good place to start
http://www.lullfitz.com.au/bird-insect-attracting-plants

Also, if you need to fill a gap in mid-late winter consider Kennedia Nigracans if you can find somewhere for it to grow (it’s a voracious twining vine): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennedia_nigricans. My bees seem to like it, and so do the butterflies :slight_smile:

And, consider going to a Kings Park plant sale if you’re looking for natives: http://www.friendsofkingspark.com.au/notices/plant-sales/


#13

A lot depends on how much space you have. 3 Hectares would enable you to plat trees which could space your flowering over 12 months. Search for Summer, Autumn, Winter Spring flowering trees(separately) Then pick those which have good nectar and pollen. If its just 1 - 2000 sqM shrubs would be the way to go. Grevillea’s, Melaleuca’s have a huge range to choose from. Pick long flowering ones like G. honeygem.

The book “Grow What Where” by the Australian Plant Study Group is a book every gardener should have in the bookshelf.


#14

@busso, which one:

https://www.amazon.com/Grow-what-where-Australian-situation/dp/0170057984

or

IF you’ve got a copy of that first one you should insure it… :wink:


#15

@SnowflakeHoney wow, Ive got this growing all over my front garden and thought it was a weed and even pulled it off of the gravillias, I know now to leave it, thanks, but I must admit I havent seen many bees on the black flowers, its pretty tho. Do you know if it gives pollen or nectar?

Thanks again


#16

Ive got 2000sqm up in Roley, Ive got a couple of big trees in the front that are getting ready to flower, fingers crossed, Ive got a few grevilleas and tea trees. Ive got loads of lavender, thyme and rosemary plants, also some agapanthas.

Ill have a look for the book, thanks for the in put.

Thanks loads


#17

I’ve assumed it is nectar - never paid that much attention. I’ve seen my bees on it along with butterflies, and I’ve also seen birds attracted to it (hence my nectar thoughts). The most unfortunate thing is that locusts seem to like hiding in it too…who would have thought I’d regularly be killing locusts in my front garden…!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say it is the first choice for my bees but it seems to provide for them when there is very little in flower during the colder months and I always see some bees visiting it whenever it is flower (it doesn’t get swamped with bees like my red flowering gum, banksia’s, or passionfruit). And for me, that’s sufficient!

Actually…that’s a good point. If you want to you could try planting a gold passionfruit vine. They tend to flower late in summer, so that would provide forage for your bees. You might be lucky enough get a few yellow passionfruit by mid/late Autumn. Assuming your frost/colder mornings doesn’t impact the vine during winter you should then find yourself with ripe yellow passionfruit in mid spring.


#18

Ha, never trust the prices, I don’t think anyone would pay that for the book! I have a friend who published a 2 page paper and it was listed for over a grand. I told her and she laughed and told me you could get it for free on the net…
Yeah the red flowering gums sure are pretty trees, stand out like sore thumbs.
There are a couple of gums here in flower but are quite sparse. I looked back in the thread and it looked like the marri flowered in late Feb here also but they definitely aren’t laden like last year.
If you count the two tree colonys on my small block there are 7 colonys here so I’m wondering if it may be worth condensing the hived ones? Or live and let bee?


#19

@skeggley How are strong is each colony and how much do you want to harvest? Given that bees fly for up to 5km’s to forage I’m not sure I’d be going to the effort to consolidate the hives…

Have you reduced your entrances? I’ve reduced mine by half this year and am noticing the bees seem to be consuming less honey. I’m expecting that come the end of the season my total harvest should be slightly up on last year.


#20

Hi mate, the smaller colonys have reduced entrances and the three larger ones, with supers on, don’t. I’ve found the bottom boards cleaner when the entrances are open. Plenty of bearding going on and you can barely see the entrances now. I had a couple of bees buzz me this arvo while I was hefting to weigh the smaller hives and I did Jeffs trick and lowered my head and minimised my breathing and sure enough the went away and then so did I. I can take a hint…
As for how much I’d like to harvest, I’d like heaps so I can justify the amount I’ve spent on this new hobby, :wink:
But I’m a realist and aim to get a harvest from each colony each year. It’s interesting to see the differences between them all in such a small area. The swarm and cutout are the smallest with a fd bb and a wsp super each and are my favourites because originated from colonys on my block. Hardy but poor producers into their second season.