Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

THE BEES!!! (and other random bits)

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!! The excitement at my place today!  We are now proud owners of bees - about 4000 Paul assured my young son today as he was trying to count up all our pets.  (Just in case you were curious - 1 dog, 1 cat, 6 chickens, a rescued cockatiel, 2 fish, the worms and now our bees -> all of them are named.  "Wormy worms" for the worms and now "Queenie and the Broodies" for the collectives).  Even my teenage daughter, who, if she wasn't part Phillapino, would be as pale as a vampire from her lack of outdoorsness, suited up along with me and Zack to watch the bees go in their hive.  AMAZING!  Thanks to Paul from Brisbane backyard bees for my beautiful hive and Lissa - your blogs made me think it was all possible.  Here are some of the photo's.

My eldest daughter took this from the trampoline - she's a little bit wary of the bees.

Here it is, all set up.

A trip to bunnings to put some flowers underneath.

The view from the viewing window.

My busy little darlings already returning with pollen.

And one already gave her life to exhaustion.  Saw this little one fall from the hive as I was planting underneath, she stumbled around for about 5 min and then died. 

Even more excitement today, my delivery from fowlers arrived.  I am now in the possession of a preserving kit and dehydrator.  Just in time too as I am about to have a glut of banana's.  We still have 3 hands left (of about 12 banana's each) and have 2 full ones inside and the last of them are now showing signs of ripening. 

My Kerriberry arrived and has gone into a little pot.  Depending on how demanding it gets - it will be transferred to a large blue wicking barrel. 

Some  gorgeous sunflowers that managed to survive the plague of grasshoppers that devastated everything. Strawberries (10 x redland joy and 10 x sugar baby) have all survive the transplant and have new leaves developing.

Raspberries (bicentennial) - only one cane but have been getting 2-3 berries per day.  Can't wait till next year.

My Rosella's.  I have a large freezer bag full of these at the moment and am going to do one final harvest before my mum gets here next week.  She is going to show me how to make Rosella jam with the fowlers jars and preserving kit. 

Well,  I think that's enough to keep me busy for a while.  Happy gardening guys.

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Comment by Lissa on May 4, 2015 at 5:09

Elaine - My bees are as much aggressive as other hives I have been around when open in recent times. I have limited experience with direct contact like this so not much to compare with. I would call them "assertive" rather than "aggressive". They don't like people meddling with the insides of their hive and who can blame them. I'm probably quite clumsy being a newbie bee keeper too.

Susan - yours sound good. Mine are fine when they're busy doing their thing. It's only when I start fiddling around inside the hive that they get upset normally. I've found a smoker useful on occasion for their own safety as much as mine. It helps get large numbers of bees off the top of the frames so I can put them back without damaging too many of the girls. I use a brush on occasion as well.

Paul makes it look so easy. I did find the frames difficult to hold and manipulate on my own due to their weight and just plain awkwardness. You need three hands. Perhaps this is where the kids will come in handy.

You'll be fine. It's an incredible thing to have in your garden.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 3, 2015 at 21:26

Even if not fearing bee stings, standing in their flight path could disorient the girls. Especially now as they haven't really settled in. Do you have a Queen-right hive?

Comment by Susan on May 3, 2015 at 19:01

Just watched the video Lissa - Amazing.  Having said that and watching Paul yesterday, the girls are so passive I don't foresee any problems.  Won't be game to be unsuited but will try not to use a smoker.  I was hanging around in front of their hive while I was planting yesterday and they were completely chilled.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 3, 2015 at 17:22

Are you bees fierce, then Lissa? They seemed benign enough when walking past them. I'd prefer to use a bee brush, less messy. I did smoke mine but rarely wore any protection they weren't that worried about being opened. I had Caucasians rather than Italians and the Caucasians are less aggro than the Italians. No idea if anyone breeds Caucasians now. I got my Queens from an old guy who lived near the shipyard which is long gone.

Comment by Lissa on May 3, 2015 at 15:26

If I tried that with my girls they would kill me.

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on May 3, 2015 at 10:28

Great video, thanks Lissa.

Comment by Lissa on May 3, 2015 at 6:40

Have a look at these two girls giving a tutorial on top bar - NO protective gear and the flick bees off with their fingers :0


Comment by Lissa on May 3, 2015 at 5:23

Very excited for you! :D

I had a problem last week with mine - more Small Hive Beetle than usual (there's always a few hanging about but the bees usually keep them under control). The hive has had a good clean out and spruce up and it all looks happy enough. Thrice daily checks to make sure all is good.

Not much honey to speak of either which is strange as they have been so busy collecting constantly.

Glad you bought bee outfits for everyone so they can all join in.

Planting the flowers underneath is a good idea. Mine overhangs the lawn a bit and is a shadier area than yours by the looks, so not possible for me :(

Water for the bees has proven challenging to provide. I placed the big tub with water loving food plants right nearby but they ignore it. They also ignore the bird bath. They seem to love to collect their water from a pot of moist soil. They were at it during the rain the other day!

Loving the sunflowers. Waiting on the few I have planted to bloom.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on May 2, 2015 at 21:38

I just officially died of envy.

Comment by Dianne Caswell on May 2, 2015 at 21:09

Lovely presents. Can't wait to taste the honey. You will be able to use it in your Preserving....Enjoy

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