Change to The ABK

Author: Des Cannon

The October Issue marked a change in the format of The ABK, with the addition of 4 pages (moving from 44 to 48 pages), all in colour (making 20 pages of colour in the centre compared to the previous 16 pages). It has been decided to continue with the new size for at least the next 12 months. Some of the extra space will be taken up by colour advertising, but overall the move has been determined by the wish to maintain a healthy balance between the amount of advertising and the amount of...

New Zealand Trip - September 2013

Author: Des Cannon

The South North Island Branch of the NBA (National Beekeepers’ Association) held their ‘BUZZ” weekend over 6-8th September. This is a residential weekend, run voluntarily by (mostly) commercial beekeepers, but aimed at hobbyist beekeepers, and is a basic beekeeping course. Above all, it is also a social weekend, with two nights of fun activities that enable everyone to mingle and get to know each other in a very informal way. 116 attended the weekend, and of those the first 70 claimed cabin...

Visit to a German 'Belegstelle'

Author: Des Cannon

An insight into the German Varroa-tolerance breeding programme When I mentioned to a non-beekeeping friend that the first thing my wife and I would be doing in Germany was visit a traditional German mating station, he admitted his initial thought was that we would be trawling the seedy under-life of Berlin, but not so! We were in fact taken by our hosts, German queen breeder Andreas Haehnle and Christiane Keppler, to the Gehlberg Forest, some 150km from their home in the small village of...

Visit to Myanmar (Part 1)

Author: Trevor and Carolyn Monson

Carolyn and I had been asked for some time to come and help our long time friend who is currently the head of ADRA Myanmar. So we finally visited Myanmar during January and February (2014) for three weeks. We had previously helped when he was director in Laos and Thailand. Help was needed to strengthen their food security through improved agricultural methods, different varieties of food that could be eaten, stored and sold, and low pressure irrigation methods. He considered our climate and...

Is Beekeeping Sustainable?

Author: Des Cannon

In looking at the question posed by the title to this article – Is Beekeeping Sustainable? – I first needed to look at the meaning of sustainability in agriculture. What do we mean when we talk about sustainable agriculture? Or sustainable beekeeping? I also had to look at the differences between ‘sustainable’ beekeeping in Australia, as compared to the rest of the world, and further had to consider the different contexts for hobbyists and commercial beekeepers. So I will digress immediately,...

Feeding Sugar to Honeybees

Author: Dr Doug Somerville

Technical Specialist Honey Bees Summary The supply of white sugar (sucrose) to honey bee colonies can be a valuable management tool for beekeepers. It is used to supplement a shortage of stored honey to prevent starvation of the colony, or to stimulate a colony to artificially promote breeding. Feeding sugar syrup may also be useful in increasing the number of field bees foraging for pollen from the hive. This will enhance their role as pollinators of a range of economic crops. The methods...

As Summer Approaches

Author: Des Cannon

As we approach summer, there are a few things the discerning beekeeper should keep an eye on. 1. Watch out for small hive beetle (SHB). If larvae are present, the hive will almost certainly be ‘slimed’ and the honey will ferment. Prevent this by using a trap of some sort, whether it be oil, Apithor, diatomaceous earth or mesh base. It is important to maintain strong colonies and reduce the numbers of adult SHB by whatever means possible....

Swarming - Control and Management

Author: Des Cannon

(Compiled from various sources - see References) Swarming is part of the natural reproductive life cycle of honey bees. The swarming season is usually between September and December but on rare occasions colonies may swarm at other times. Warmer weather, combined with an abundance of nectar and pollen, stimulate the colony to increase in population.  Overcrowding in the hive can prompt some bees to swarm – they leave the parent colony so that they can reproduce by starting a new colony...

Preparation of Package Bees

Author: Des Cannon

Australian beekeepers are being more familiar with the use of package bees to make up new hives or to replace losses incurred over the winter. How are these package bees produced? The package bee supplier has to ensure that the beekeepers whose bees are to be shaken have sufficient bees to allow beehives to be shaken, and also have ensure that enough newly mated queens are available ahead of time for each pallet. In the weeks prior to the supply date, the beekeeper suppliers are hard at work...

So. How's Mrs P.?

Author: Ray Berkelmans and Lindsay Trott (Townsville and District Beekeepers Association)

The question ‘How’s Mrs P.?’ Has been asked of us by many people since our article “Taming the Wild Hive” appeared in The ABK (Feb 2013). Well, frankly, we were wondering the same thing after our last visit. We’d been caretaking a DPI/Biosecurity sentinel hive located in the back yard of Mrs P since October 2012 and it had been about 4 weeks since our last visit. The house was locked up (not so unusual), the car was missing (understandable if she lost her licence... at age 93!), the yard was...