March 2014 Event Backyard Bee Workshop

A cool, sunny afternoon on Saturday 22nd March was the perfect setting for 28 people to learn about backyard beekeeping from Ken Gell of the Central Victorian Apiarists Association.bees1

Sitting on parts of bee boxes we watched a DVD which explained the importance of regularly checking bee hives for diseases. Ken showed us how to do identify the most serious ones. eg American Foul Brood.

Beekeeping is highly regulated and all hives, whether backyard or commercial, must be registered with the DEPI.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ken talked about bee behaviour and hive management. He showed us some of the tools he used, demonstrating how to remove the wax covering the honey and then putting the frame in a manual honey extractor to remove the honey. He, as a commercial honey producer with over one thousand hives, uses an electric honey extractor which he demonstrated at the end of the day.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With many of us covered in protective gear, we watched Ken demonstrate the use of a bee smoker and pull out the frames in an active hive. We had a close look at the different sized cells formed by the bees depending on whether they had drones or worker larvae in them. We even saw a queen bee hard at work. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A quick break for afternoon tea was enjoyable before Ken showed us how to put together a frame to go in the beehive using either plastic or wax options. (When you buy them they are in flat form) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Judy from the CVAA handed out information packs regarding diseases, registering beehives and suppliers of beehive equipment.

It was a great day of information and discussion. We thank Ken Gell and his family for opening up his honey shed for us and Ken and Judy for sharing so much information with us. It will be interesting to see how many participants set up a beehive to produce their own honey.

A useful website is http://www.depi.vic.gov.au/agriculture-and-food/livestock/honey-bees/hobby-beekeeping