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Valley Bee open day - learning about bee keeping

Last Sunday we travelled to Kandanga, near Gympie, for an open day held by Valley Bees.  It was a wonderful day, I was surprised by the professional and informative displays.  We learnt about solitary bees, Australian native stingless bees and top-bar hives.  We bought a couple of books, but no bees yet!

Why keep bees?  Pollination, honey, wax and another addictive hobby!

eight acres: bee keeping open day
honey!

eight acres: bee keeping open day
wax for candles and making salve

eight acres: bee keeping open day
Here's a couple of the books we bought

Overall, we decided that the easiest thing to do would be to encourage solitary bees in our garden.  This should help with pollination, but we won't get any honey!  Here's a good post about solitary bees.

eight acres: bee keeping open day
solitary bee hotels

eight acres: bee keeping open day
more examples of how to attract solitary bees

The next step would be a hive of Australian native stingless bees.  These are relatively easy to manage because they don't sting!  They also make a little bit of honey and wax.  At the open day we saw how one full hive can be split to create two hives.  In this way you can expand the number of hives and spread them around your property.  The bees only travel 500 m, so you can keep them in your garden to help with pollination.  There are a few different varieties of bees and if we can find some wild ones on our property we might be able to persuade them to live in a box....


eight acres: bee keeping open day
an Australian native stingless bee hive

eight acres: bee keeping open day
Houses for Australian native stingless bees

eight acres: bee keeping open day
Australian native stingless bee hives

Surprisingly there wasn't much information about conventional bee keeping!  But we did get to see a "top bar hive", which I had heard about, so it was really good to see one up close.  If we do eventually get European honey bees, I am interested in using this type of hive, or at least understanding the concepts of natural bee keeping.  


eight acres: bee keeping open day
a top bar hive

eight acres: bee keeping open day
alternative hive design

eight acres: bee keeping open day
here's a job for Taz is she doesn't want to herd cattle!


Overall, it was an excellent day out, and enjoyed by many others, the hall was packed!  We have some books to read and lots more to learn, so this gave us a good overview.  If they run the day again next year and you're anywhere between Brisbane and Maryborough, I recommend you try to go along.

I have started a pinterest board "keeping bees" to keep track of all the bee posts I find.  I'm thinking of running another series of interviews on bee keeping.  Email me on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com to volunteer.

What do you think?  Do you keep bees?  Or attract solitary bees?  Any good resources you can recommend for new bee keepers?





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Comments

  1. This is great! Something we have been considering. I would love to keep bees for honey and to make mead :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Liz, I have just attended a honey beekeeping workshop...have wanted bees for a long time and am thankful I did the workshop first because it is quite a commitment to have a hive...I am now going to visit a working hive, complete with beekeeping suit to see how comfortable I am once I have to get up close and personal with them...I had no idea that in Spring you have to check the inside of the hive around every 8 days..also honey samples must be sent to the lab every year and you must register your hive..all food for thought...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Such an interesting article on Honey Beekeeping. I'd love to have honey available like that. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds like a wonderful day Liz! I have read about it now and then on the Australian Native Bee email list. It's a Yahoo list and recommended for anyone interested in Australian native bees whether stingless or solitary.
    A note about the 'Bee Hotels': each year the used nests need to be cleaned out by us or replaced. The bees who use the straws or bamboo or whatever don't clean them out after use and only use new ones each year.

    ReplyDelete

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