My backyard is suitable for a hive, what happens next?
You will receive a hive when one becomes available. At times we have a waiting list for hives, so you might need to be patient. During Spring and Summer are the most likely times to receive a hive. Scott and Amanda collect swarms during Spring and perform feral hive ‘cut outs’ later in the season. They like to ensure that the hive is healthy and strong and has a gentle queen before it placed it in your backyard. It is important to ensure that the location of the hive complies with Victorian Apiary Code of Practice (2011) and the City of Ballarat Local Law No. 15.
What happens after I receive the hive?
Two things happen. One is that Scott or Amanda will visit the hive around every two weeks during Spring and Summer and less regularly during the cooler months. A hive ‘heath check’ and monitoring for signs of honey production will occur. When this happens frames that have at least 80% of capped honey will be removed for extraction. This is often referred to as ‘robbing’ the hive. In the lead up to Autumn less and sometimes no honey will be ‘robbed’ from the hive. This ensures that the bees have sufficient food to keep them strong during the winter. Early Spring is considered the most difficult time for bees in cooler areas like Ballarat.
What happens with the honey from the hive?
A backyard hive could produce as much as 30kgs of honey per season (this is a conservative figure). You receive 25% of the honey yield produced from the hive. We will cold extract and coarsely filter the honey. It will come to you unheated, untreated, unblended and with naturally occurring pollen. You may need to purchase a honey bucket with a honey gate to store your honey in once it is extracted it for you. The honey is extracted in a registered commercial kitchen.
What if I want to learn how to keep bees myself?
You are welcome to work with Scott or Amanda to manage the hive. You may wish to purchase some protective gear if you think you may wish to continue with beekeeping, otherwise you will be able borrow some of Scott and Amanda’s protective gear – suit or jacket, veil and gloves.
You will also have the opportunity to observe of one of the worlds most productive insects close up. For those with a natural curiosity or affection for the honey bee, you can also borrow current books and DVD’s about Apis mellifera from the Backyard Beekeeping Ballarat Library. Just ask Scott and Amanda for their recommendations. You and your neighbours will also benefit from the potential this delightful insect has to pollinate nearby vegetable gardens and fruit trees.
An annual fee of $275.00 applies to cover the costs associated with the management of hive. These costs include;
- Initial site assessment and ensuring compliance with Apiary Code of Practice (2011) and Council Local Laws;
- Hive monitoring and inspection visits;
- Administrative costs assisted with compliance with the Biosecurity Code of Practice;
- Honey extraction & hire of a registered commercial kitchen to ensure compliance with the Australian and New Zealand Food Safety Standards, Department of Health and Human Services and local Council;
- Re-queening of the hive;
- Hive maintenance and replacement as required;
- On site mentoring;(if required)
- Loan of protective clothing; and
- Access to the Backyard Beekeeping Ballarat Library which includes current beekeeping titles and DVD’s.
Things to keep in mind around bees
- Bees can sometimes behave unpredictably when exposed to strong aromas like perfume and other body scents – so we suggest that you do not wear perfume, aftershave or other strong smelling body lotions or hair products when working near the bees.
- This is also the case with some dark coloured and fluffy clothing. So best to avoid it. (you’ll note that beekeepers wear light coloured clothing when working bees).
- Bees leave and return to the hive thousands of times during the day using the same flight path. if you obstruct their path they will probably collide with you and may sting you. Approach a beehive from the side not the front entrance!
Most people have been stung by a bees at some stage in their life in which case they would have experienced pain, swelling and possibly an itchy irritation for a few days. If you or your family experience or believe that you may experience a more serious reaction that this, then we would recommend an alternative outdoor activity – maybe bushwalking or keeping stick insects!