The varroa mite here in the Newcastle area has meant the loss of many hives, mine among them. I’ve been an occasional contributor to the forum in the last few years, so here’s a bit of my bee history and where it’s ending for me.
This is my son, Sam, about 30 years ago. We set up a hive while living at Wagga in the 90s.
A friend rang me with news of a swarm in his yard so we went to collect it. Sam with the gloves and the friend’s son in front. They were captivated with how calm the bees were.
Unfortunately we lost the hive, along with many other people, in a prolonged drought. Fast forward to a few years ago and the Flowhive appeared. I’d just retired and got ‘bee-ing’ again.
A year later and I did a split for a second hive. These have kept family and friends in honey since then. The setup with the extraction tubes makes it very easy. A three kg tub per frame and the tubes fit the lids firmly so bees don’t try to crawl inside.
And then came varroa. The first extermination zone was 10 km from Newcastle harbour and I was outside it by a few kms. However, another infestation closer to me extended the zone down to the top of the lake where I live. The DPI came and did their thing. It still upsets me as I write this.
Three weeks later they came for the whole lot, which I believe will go to landfill.
The DPI compensation is $550 per hive. That is almost half the cost of a Flow hive, so when the quarantine order clears the area for beekeeping again I’ll be able to replace one of them. However, that will be at least three years away and could be up to five years.
So I got onto the Flow hive site again and ordered one of their native pollinator houses. Then I got out the paint cans from the original hives. I’ve now got this mini house to put somewhere in the garden.
Best wishes to you all out there. I’ve enjoyed the bee journey, both the old style in the 90s and the Flow hive in the last few years.