Last week Apiary Made’s resident beekeepers, Celeste and Emily went to inspect and harvest some honey from the satellite apiary in Healesville. A beautiful spot on the slope of a hill, surrounded with grape vines, lots of water and an abundance of native plants and trees for the bees to enjoy.
It’s been a strange weather season in Victoria with massive fires, dust storms, hail storms, lots of rain in parts but not in others, so it has been a season of mixed fortunes for bees and beekeepers in our state and across Australia.
For our bees it has been a bit of a bumper season, with lots of nectar flow from the native plants and gums and fairly mild temperatures the bees have thrived this season and are still going strong. It has been a few seasons now that we have seen the bees so strong which is a delightful site. We love walking past a grevillea or flowering gum and hearing the hum of bees happily foraging away… it can also get quite loud and sound like a mini airport if they take particular liking to a flowering plant, there can be thousands of bees foraging on one tree at any one time.
We harvested a conservative amount of honey from them last week and will head back again in the next week or so, to see how quickly they are refilling the new frames. If they are filling the new, empty frames quickly it will be due to the strong pollen and nectar flow still available to them. This will mean we can harvest a little more and feel confident that the bees have plenty of resources to refill their stocks to have ready for the winter. During these cooler months they will spend more time in their hive and less time foraging due to the weather and reduced food sources, so we make sure they will have enough honey stores to eat and so they are still strong for the start of Spring.
We do want to again send our thoughts to beekeepers around Australia who lost bees and hives during the fires. They are like pets to most of us, so it’s a sad time. It will also be tough, slow recovery, as much of the bush and flora that provide the food and nectar sources for the bees will take years to grow back to their previous strength, so its not as simple as just replacing the bees. We wish you and your bees the best recovery possible.