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Author Topic: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree  (Read 529 times)

Offline sixtus

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Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« on: May 23, 2019, 01:45:32 pm »
Hi folks, I recently semi retired from a government career and was looking to get some bees. Funnily enough a relative who used to have about 130 hives in the early 90's also decided to get back into the game. We are going to join forces and get about 50 hives at this stage to start. He suggested buying everything new from registered suppliers to reduce chances of pests. We had a few good deals presented to us for second hand hives and equipment but did not go for it. I am trying to learn as much as possible in the meantime to match some of his general knowledge which he says is a little rusty but seems expansive to me.

One thing I was wondering( well about 5 million things)
1. is there a general way to sum up beekeeping in the tropics? I notice 99.9% of the literature out there is temperate climate centric. Even a lot of the southern or central QLD stuff may not fully apply to us. We don't get winter, but we do get a 3 month rainy season early in the year. Any general tips or vast differences on what to expect? Can I 'book learn' whatever needs to be 'book learnt' from sources everywhere else in Australia?

2. What is considered the best resources to go off?

3.. Any great youtube tutorials so I can visualise what all these terms aka supers, broods, frames etc mean?

I was a military trainer in my past life and really like the idea of structured approaches to acquiring knowledge. I am sure the bees will naturally have another idea, but I'd like to pick up as much as I can before I start getting dirty.



Offline Xerox

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2019, 05:22:56 pm »
Welcome! And usually google and YouTube are packed full of info for new beekeepers! I learned this myself as this is my first year!
3 hives, 1 year. I need a bigger bee yard

Offline eltalia

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2019, 10:30:10 pm »
G'day... "sixtus"..??.. you'll need to decipher that one as even I carnt decode it!
/chuckles/
"5 million"
...double that after foraging through eweToob, tellya.

A few things on startup??
There are "wet tropics" @nd then there is "dry tropics", we are in the dry, the other side of the GDR
to you on the southern tablelands looking over the basalt ridge, sorta...know the Mossman/Rex/Daintree
 well... not so much North of the river up past Cape Trib.
As you'd know 2018/19 is the best Wet we've had in years with some of our story buried in posts here.
Soooo... happy to help with specific local knowledge if needed.
Buuuut to sum it up in a nutshell?
For Apis.M the tropics are arguably the prime location to run bees in as it is a 330day operation,
giving us opportunities for 'experiment' others can only dream of - so if it is bees you are interested in
(n0t honey) the tropics are Honeybee Nirvana.

You'll need to indicate just which part of the Country your mate earnt his experience or risk us telling you
stuff already known - that could go titsup, fast.
Not to rain on your parade buuuut you are going to find raising and running 50 in between the cane and
the scrub a little ambitous unless you are prepared to do migratory - something a little risky these days
as a.) you need to be around the colonys more often than is convienent when they are remote
-and -
b.) it is too easy to park them in a "hot zone" today without knowing. as -  despite the education about - there
are many new players with beehives in backyards and no clue whatsoever on disease mitigation or recognition.

Whatever you do as to hardware you are going to have to get bees somewhere, yeah?
So with that aspect of whom/where you get them it follows buying a few whole working colonys is likely
to prove most efficient, or build up from purchased nuclei out of Cairns - a few choices there, contact the Club.

0n approach?
As a fella of Rank in the (ex)military environs I would offer "Beekeeping by Numbers" is not an option, despite
(again) what many do try to install as "how to" - communal social honeybees are a living organism which can
be managed quite successfully, just they never read the British Army Manual nor
Pratical Beekeeping for the Novice.
So the first thing your mate can help you with is "listening to bees".. and IF he is wearing a beesuit..?...those
lessons will be muted.

.... back to you.

Bill





Offline Bee North

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2019, 06:40:07 am »
Hi "sixtus"....welcome!

Mate im from Kuranda and this is only my second year keeping bees.

Your are correct in that there is not a lot of reference material out there for us specifically. But...
Lucky for us we have Bill and others here happy to help out.
Being a newbee im no expert, but my challenges keeping bees in the rainforest (as Bill has stated above), seems to be around bee numbers...Lots of bees!! Also if your not up to speed on shb yet read up.
Anyway im sure we can share some experiences and maybe a few lessons learned along the way.
FYI i found the Honey Providore in Cairns is a good place to start for supplies and or bees.
They did have a long waiting list for bees last spring though...just a heads up.

Rgds
Adam

Offline sixtus

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2019, 07:27:27 am »
All good, false alarm as it turns out. The relative in question just had some personal issues come up which has taken him out of the game. I'll be going back to FIFO work by the looks. :smile:

Offline Bee North

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2019, 07:45:54 am »
Thats a shame....if you are interested in bees, you can still keep a couple of hives in the back yard as a FIFO....I do!

Anyway all the best.

Rgds
Adam

Offline sixtus

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2019, 12:04:08 am »
Bee north, in that case then I might keep a couple as a hobby. That cheers me up a bit. Might learn something prior to going bigger if the opoortunity presents too. It was certainly a very short 'commercial career', I had only just started looking into it.

eltalia, sixtus btw is the name of an old mafia connected pope of the medieval era. He was a bad buggar, I dont personally relate to him, I think I started using it as a name for some online game forums 12-15 years ago as a younger man, then it stuck, and is easy to remember now.


My extended family has a bit of land up here in various areas. The coast around Cardwell, atherton tablelands and properties west around dimbulah way where its a lot drier. I dont own the land, I'm the poor suburban end of the family, but I will have access to it. We had intended to move hives around this 2-3 hour driving radius as needed. Is this what you meant by migration? Is this the way to go?

The relative in question had done bees on the coast, a few spots between Tully/Cardwell area for the record. So same region as the wetter parts, he has lived in the wet tropics all his life.

So folks is SHB bad up here yet? I heard once it really gets hold in the tropics we will have big dramas as no winter period to suppress its activities. Is this correct reasoning or will it be business as usual?

Also, this is probably top of the pops for newby questions. Whats the average honey yeild per year for a hive? Someone told me 50kg is about all to expect if things are going well, 75kg is rare and 100kg is a record high number.

To show I am not a complete idiot I will add,
1. for a new guy,
2. an experienced guy,
3.  for a reasobaly good year where it all comes together, minimal pests and you get onto good spots, are in a good place mentally, the wife is happy, piles aren't playing up, footy teams are winning etc. :grin:

Offline Bee North

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2019, 12:55:14 am »
Bee north, in that case then I might keep a couple as a hobby. That cheers me up a bit. Might learn something prior to going bigger if the opoortunity presents too.

Fantastic....great plan!

Be warned though, once you start its hard to stop.

Yes SHB is one to watch and manage up here.

I will let Bill and others with the experience address your questions regarding yield and migration management.

Adam

Offline eltalia

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2019, 10:39:39 pm »
... raining, again. Doncha jes luuuurve the Tropix!
"Fairy Pee" this time around - 10mm in 24hours (aka) "winter rain" in
 our 'winter' as it drops to 19C nights and 22C days, miserable weather.
Buuut tamorra the Sun will be back..!

So.

"To show I am not a complete idiot I will add,
1. for a new guy,
2. an experienced guy,
3.  for a reasobaly good year where it all comes together, minimal
 pests and you get onto good spots, are in a good place mentally,
the wife is happy, piles aren't playing up, footy teams are winning etc."

First up allow the good grace to acknowledge(moi) those mitigating factors
shaping your seed of an idea as being the unwanted baggage they no
doubt are - "rellies" and business rarely mix well, partnerships have even
a worse record with the exception where copulation is a bond.
You have my sincere empathy "sixtus".

And a caveat to wrap All my input?
We are Polllinators, not "honeybadgers" - with that comes differing
management styles to honey producers, and so should form part of
the consideration when taking on board advice.
That said, there is not a lot of difference in running bees in the Tropix to
anywhere else bees would survive unattended, it is simply the case the
windows are much larger in the Tropix.
As just one example(?) our Wet season closely mimics that of Northern
hemisphere winters in terms of preparation, yet the Wet goes far beyond
those winters in terms of dearth. So whilst our honey stores can be far
greater it is true every skerrick of it is sometimes needed, as has been
proven in 2018/19 where nearly six months after the November bushfires
 we still struggle today to rebuild numbers to values around August 2018.

In short, for the "new guy"... put management before expectations or risk
magnormus disappointment.
The "experienced guy" knows to go with the flow, literally, yet manage
efficiently to gather in that bare minimum of around 40kg per stack
(national statistic).
In a "reasonable year" for a static apiary near orchard/cropping 60 to 80kg
is easily doable whereas an apiary in a "one flow wonder" may iust return 20kg.
Then... to answer your question on migratory (?) we have examples as the
attached graphic - where this operator was heard on ABC radio boasting
100kg/wk from 2X stacks moving through orchards on the Tablelands -
he is running a FD super on single fulldepth (FD) broodchambers (BC) in poly boxes.
Sooo... not totally 'new' to it.
Myself not all impressed with his style, buut good luck to him as these newer
players are a dime a dozen these days.

As generic guide to startup?
From those sites you indicate, pick one that is within reasonable driving distance
 at night and in the Wet. Set your build box(s) there and expand to
that point your management reaches compromise, then delete 5% by numbers of
stacks/colonys.
This will take at least three seasons to get to say 20 fully functional stacks.

Before doing anything more at all get onto the QLD biosecurity site to educate
 yourself to at least my level on aspects as SHB/Wax Moth/American Foul Brood (AFB)
/Chalkbrood(CB), and Apis.Cerana (Asian Honeybee).
You _must_ be able to hold an informed discussion on these topics.
Follow links you find and ask what you are not absolutely full bottle on.

SHB itself exists throughout most sites close by urbanisation all over the east coast.
Like CB the single most efficient barrier to these is the bees themselves, so it is simply
a matter of maintaining numbers at all times inclusive of when building new colonys
 from strong parents, during swarm seasons, post honey extraction, and in the Wet.
The latter most important of all.
Box (stack) design helps but without strong numbers even a single beetle is capable
 of producing enough larvae to overwhelm a colony given the perfect conditions for such.
Stay on them, take no prisioners.. that means at least fortnightly inspections of at least
"popping the top".

Long yet succinct, believe... I trust it all goes someway in forming your thoughts around
getting fair dinkum.
Like yourself my "handle" is also of Italian origins, just not at all emerging from the
Black Hand mob so steeped in that history of FNQ. 'Eltalia" being a play on words for
Apis Meliferra Linguistica - Golden Italian honeybee, or in example of my use, The Eyetie...
..despite the Fact my DNA is of Irish and Indigenous stock. Complex, huh?
/grins/

Go well, and mind how you go.

Bill

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Offline sixtus

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2019, 05:09:28 am »
Thanks Bill. As to empathy regarding family, we are all in business together in various ways luckily. Not part of that traditional anglo model of cat and dog fighting in any group larger than one. The celts can have the clan warfare.  :cheesy:

Study the pests, will do, at length.

20,40, 60-80 and the 100kg guy- noted, insofar as my limited knowledge understands the work for it to arrive at those levels.

Can I ask one thing, everything I have read suggests keeping an eye and checking regularly for SHB.... but what do you do when you actually find it? From what I read its impervious to about eveything and bees can niether sting nor remove them.

What are the procedures carried out against the bug for both the 2 and 6 legged teamsters upon finding it present?

Offline Bamboo

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2019, 05:41:50 am »
Hi Sixtus
As to SHB when Bill says to deal to them by popping the lid fortnightly he means use your hive tool, thumb, forefinger or whatever to crush the little so and sos and send them to their next life! They are a fact of life beekeeping here on the east coast. Also if you keep the populations strong in the hive the bees tend to corral them into the lid or top of the hive and when you lift the lid the want to scurry back down out of the sunlight and you can usually dispatch a fair number. I have also found when I take the top super off and put it on an upturned lid they will go down onto the lid and you can crush them there, be quick as some get wise and fly off! They hate bright sunshine.
Good luck with the bees I always ask those that say they would love to keep bees.." There is only one real reason to keep bees, and that is because they are fascinating. If you just want honey, make friends with a beekeeper"
Cheers

Offline sixtus

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2019, 09:58:47 pm »
Thanks Bamboo I knew what he meant by opening them, just wasnt sure how to dispatch them. I do love the idea of keeping bees, my first contact with them was helping my grandad rob them when I was at primary school. I have to admit it was a bit scary back then, didn't have a proper bee suit in the day and I was wearing the grownups ill fitting work clothes rolled up most of the time, so I'd sometimes get stung. Getting stung or bitten by things doesn't bother me these days, I worked in africa quite a while where if things sting you, the issue is whether its giving you a terrible disease or laying eggs in your body :cheesy:
 Good old honeybees, a lot cleaner.

Offline eltalia

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Re: Hi new beekeeper in the daintree
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2019, 10:37:01 pm »
@sixtus

/nods/
Yep, it hasn't escaped my notice cultures foreign to celts own quite
different often way more productive cooperative values, in this Country
at least. Just look up any phonebook for canefarmers names, they didn't
get there following the "I'm allright Jack, pity about you" dogma. Heh

Hang about long enough an' you'll figure I'm not big on "dot point"
responses to topics - to a fault, even. Luckily in a few places I have
folk much wiser than I who can if they choose join the dots.
Mark's "make friends" signoff being a fine example.
/tips hat/ @Bamboo

Only the best wishes your way for a startup. You've got six seeks at least of
current weather, so no rush and plenty of time to toolup and absorb.
Hooroo...

Bill

[update]
0fficial first day of winter and a chilly overcast 16C with loads of blooms
around but nary a bee flying - it is going to be a wet year.
Beanies are out, fluffy thongs on, and the fire lit - time of the wee toddy.
Hooray!



« Last Edit: June 01, 2019, 05:27:40 am by eltalia »