Our planned meeting / workshop for Saturday 26th March went ahead at Tannum Sands with a strong attendance of 18 members. An informal meeting started with a very tasty morning tea followed by a very brief meeting to bring members up to date with what has been happening in the bee world.
A lot of healthy debate was held around management of the water meter rescues from Gladstone Regional Council and President Mark is going to put together a proposed management procedure. Based on his own experience, Doug Stephan is also going to put together some points on how to prepare a new box before introducing a colony to improve chances of success.
With the meeting closed, it was now down to the fun part that most came along for and that was to demonstrate some practical bee keeping.
TH Hive Split First up was a very informative hive split demonstration that Michael Mann had brought along. By Michaels own admission, he had no idea what it might be like inside. Once opened it was obvious that it was very full and could certainly be split successfully. The only problem we noticed straight away was the support bars were made of very thin ply and over time had basically rotted away and not providing any support. After some honey tasting the split proceeded without any other problems apart from removing some of the rotted support bars and cleaning up.
AA hive Split: This Austroplebeia australis hive had not been opened since it was rescued and first set up in Sep 2019. An earlier attempt was made at eduction of another hive but after some time the bees created an alternative entrance and ceased going into the eduction hive. Once opened, it was noted that it had a lot of va-cant space in the box and it was decided not to split
Trap Hive: After these two activities I then took the members on a tour of my small property showing them some of my hives and providing them with some back-ground information about where they were rescued from and how they were managed. One hive of particular interest was a trap hive I have recently set up as a trial. It happened by accident when I decided to relocate one of my hives a short distance of about 6m only to find the following day there was a lot of bees remaining at the original location looking for home and obviously disoriented. I had a failed hive with some structure still in it which I placed in the location and within 5 minutes all the disoriented bees were making their way into the new box. It is still early days but after 4 weeks the bees are still using the new box so watch this space. By the way the original relocated box is also still very strong.