Closure of Bruce Apiary
The Bruce TAFE Apiary is now finally closed. Special thanks are extended to John Grubb for assistance in maintaining the apiary over the past twelve months and to Dermot AsIs Sha’Non for assistance in moving the final two colonies to the Jerrabomberra Wetlands.
Two queens were removed to address long standing chalk brood problems and one further queen used to replace a supersedure queen (heading a colony that was consequently split at subsequent point of swarming). One further queen will be employed to replace a queen in a colony that has failed to build in early to mid spring. Total planned queen replacement to date, four queens.
Four queens (2 in a split and 2 in nucs) will be employed to head two 2-queen honey producer colonies (assuming there is a summer honey flow) for club honey processing demonstration (extraction/cut comb honey) purposes. Other good, but older, queens will be changed out to nucs and their stores, brood and bees employed to strengthen other apiary colonies as and if needed.
The overall number of colonies/nucs and queens at hand will be progressively reduced, that is to replace unsatisfactory and older swarm-inclined queens as the season progresses.
Apiary condition and use
The apiary (with heavy feeding) is now in fair condition and measures have been taken both to replace poor queen stock and to arrest swarming. The apiary now has a retinue of nucleus colonies headed by good queens (their acceptance pending) for use throughout the 2017-2018 bee season. The likely main limitations of apiary performance are the present exceptionally dry landscape condition and the ever present risk of disease. The main changes to apiary operations this season (apart from establishing a nucleus resource pool) has been to tighten up apiary biosecurity and to establish a comprehensive system (if opaque) system of hive inspection reporting.
One KTB colony was refurbished with one colony from Bruce, the other will be used to reestablish the Derwent Pencil Langstroth Top Bar Hive. Two colonies were split to prevent swarming and each split has been requeened. A further six nucs were queened as an apiary resource.
The apiary has been used for two short beginning beekeeper training courses and for the inaugural club demo session.
Both the club Flow Hive and the Langstroth Top Bar (Derwent Pencil) Hive will be reestablished shortly hopefully at the upcoming monthly club demo session at 2 pm on Saturday the 21st of October.
Apiary operational costs
Costs incurred ($376.65) include purchase of ten queen bees, irradiation of gear that will be used for honey supering, and coating materials for the new flow hive.