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Starting out in SA

Hi everyone im currently looking into keeping 2 hives as a friend has offered to me all his equipment and i have always had a strong interest but my delay is understanding the rules here in South Australia. Is there anyone here that are in SA that can give me a heads up on whats involved, i understand that every hive must be registered but what else is required as its worrying me a bit as i only wanted this as a hobby a didn’t realize so much more was involved.

@semaphore might be able to offer a few comments that are useful and specific to SA.

As far as it being a hobby, you should obviously be aware that any form of animal husbandry requires a commitment. While bees don’t have the same day to day requirements as a pet dog they do have needs. Beekeeping is not a set and forget hobby. Perhaps before you get started it might be worth going to a local beekeeping group meeting or undertaking an introductory short workshop/course so you can be more aware of what is actually involved.

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Oh, and looking at your location, I assume you’re aware that grapes often rely on wind pollination not bees (if I’m wrong, please correct me). I haven’t been to Clare Valley so I’m not sure what else you’re likely to have around the area but I assume there’s going to be plenty of bushland and not alot of suburbia. That being the case, and local apiarists could comment better, if you do start keeping hives you might need to manage the colonies with the expectation of a nectar (and pollen?) dearth at some point each season.

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Hi @Dazza43.

I am no longer in SA, but I hope I can help with general direction.

This document may give you an idea about what is involved on legal side of the beekeeping in SA
Recreational Beekeeping: A guide to beekeeping in South Australia

You may want to contact your council to find out about their specific requirements.

Here is a starter on the beekeeping itself. This is really a quick read that may help you to form questions and start to dig further in more informed way.
Australian Beekeeping Guide

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Thankyou very much, I do have a bit of information on bee keeping not all new due to helping a bee keeper 14 years ago. I just want to make sure i do the right thing like any one caring / keeping livestock. The area im in would be great due to large native bush land, red gum, blue gums right at my back door.

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try and find a local beekeeper if you can to get some tips about your area. I am based in adelaide- and keep urban bees and it is quite different to keeping bees out of the city. In many ways it is easier- as we have good food for the bees all year around. I also keep some bees int he adelaide hills- and up there I need to keep a closer eye on them and feed before and during winter if there is a dearth of nectar available.

Native bush is very good for bees- but at times it offers them very little. many gums only flower for brief periods and in between the bees can go hungry. So keep an eye on the weight of your hives. Especially now going into winter.

other than registering your bees with Pirsa there are not many other legal requirements I am aware of. But obviously you must be a beekeeper- which means doing all your periodic inspections and learning the art. There is much you can get from books- but I find that youtube is also very good for learning. This forum is also great for asking questions. But nothing beats local knowledge and having someone you can call if you run into a situation- as you inevitably will. Beekeeping is a great hobby but you only get as much out of it as you put into it.


@Dazza43 that’s great to hear. Given you helped a beekeeper some years back I won’t comment on when to add supers (but feel free to ask if you have questions). I will comment that given the lack of suburbia it seems you’re likely to experience a dearth, possibly two, each year. At a guess I’d say at some point mid to late winter and then again in mid summer (I base this opinion only on comments I’ve seen by various people in different locations on this forum and not on personal experience through relying on a lack of suburbia).

I’m assuming you were given flow hives. A few things to be aware of:

  1. Some people experience issues with bees taking to the flow frames. Not everyone does. If you do experience issues try rubbing some burr comb over the frames or flicking water with honey (from the hive) over the frames. That will encourage the bees to work the frames.

  2. Almost everyone experiences issues with honey flooding if they extract in-situ. There are a number of different ways this can be addressed but perhaps the simplest solution (although not failsafe) is to (a) ensure the flow frames are almost fully capped (especially the lower cells) and (b) only crack the frame in quarters or thirds, never all at once.

Have fun. :slight_smile:

Thankyou all so much, and ABB that info is very helpful thankyou.
Im getting very keen now and i may have got a local beekeeper to help me out so that will be very helpful.
Im sure i will have plenty of silly questions and i will post a pic when i get set up. :slightly_smiling_face:


@Dazza43 if you put an @ symbol in front of someone’s name like @ABB it gives them a notification that they’ve been mentioned so they know to come have a look (and in this case, receive your thanks!).