I would just like to give some solid advice for anyone considering having hives hosted on someone else’s property, no matter how sincere either party is please protect yourself and your hives/bees with a signed and witnessed agreement. State exactly what it is you expect from the arrangement and that your hives/bees remain your property as they are considered livestock and are not to be tampered with by the other party or anyone whilst you are not present or without your specific permission. The ownership of hives/bees cannot be transferred or changed into anyone else’s name without your authority to DPI. My advice comes from experience.
Varroa Destructor was identified in hives neat the port of Newcastle in June 2022. The NSW DPI began to follow the planned procedure for this type of event. The hardest element has been finding volunteers to put feet on the ground to inspect as many hives as possible and try and work out how far this has moved and approximately how long it’s been here undetected. Many hundreds of hives/colonies have been destroyed in the red eradication zones so far with more awaiting their eradication date. In a massive effort of surveillance in the purple zones to define the border of the spread, lines have been pretty fairly drawn and last week it was agreed upon on a national level that the current general blue zone was Varroa mite free.
Unfortunately for us at The Naked Honey Apiary our journey will soon be over as both of our apiaries now fall within red zones, I (Roz) have cried buckets of tears and we have gradually come to terms with the reality that our beautiful hard working bees are now sadly on death row as we await the call from DPI officers to arrange the date for their euthanasia. We have prepared ourselves for the inevitable but I know that more tears will be shed when we see the lost bees flying around for days wondering why they can’t get into their homes and eventually dying because they have nowhere to go and for us to live with seeing the hives wrapped in black plastic sitting for weeks waiting to be collected and taken away for ever, this I am not looking forward to but I also wish that it will happen soon so we can heal and move on with our lives.
Spring is always the season when bees want to swarm, this season is no different, in fact it’s the worst season for swarms in years! So many beekeepers are finding it challenging to stop their bees from wanting to leave, but sometimes it just doesn’t matter how good you are at maintaining your hives, when they want to go then they’ll go.
We have had a few swarm this season and apart from having another beekeeper come and collect one, we’ve just had to let them go as we don’t have the spare equipment or space to house anymore hives. When a hive swarms it takes about half of the colony and the queen as well as honey stores, the hive is then left with a new queen ready to hatch so they can rebuild again.
We had one particular hive swarm 4 times within a month, the weather wasn’t great but as soon as the conditions were good enough Chris jumped in a few days after the last swarm and removed any visible swarm cells so the new queen that had just hatched would go on her mating flight and then stay in the hive, it was a success and the hive has been happy ever since. This is a very productive hive and has yielded the most honey this season so far. We currently have 20 healthy active hives.
Welcome to The Naked Honey Apiary. Our Blog “News From The Apiary” will include a mixture of tips, stories and information that we’d like to pass on to our customers and followers. Our Apiary is situated in the lower Hunter Valley of NSW. We are Chris & Roz and we are both registered beekeepers. We keep European Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) in all of our beehives which at last count we have 9 hives in total.