On Sunday 17th April the first day of The Southside Beekeepers Course was successfully held at The Briars in the Barn, Mt. Martha on the Mornington Peninsula . An enthusiastic group of twelve interested potential or beginner beekeepers attended. Our Life Member Ian Brown delivered the newly updated and fully revised 2016 course. The participants were extremely fortunate to benefit from Ian’s wealth of knowledge and depth of experience.
Ian shared personal tales and experiences to the group peppered with his sense of humour. Lindsay Wilson willingly added his knowledge to the presentation and discussions whilst Carol Schumann ensured there was a balance between responding to questions and future material to be covered whilst adhering to a time frame. During the morning break participants were extremely positive about the theory session which included a number of photos interspersed with factual material.Carol Schumann,David Mison,Marg Knee and myself had been hoping they weren’t on overload!
A practical session which involved opening hives on site followed lunch, as weather conditions were warm and the breeze had dropped.With everyone suited up and the smoker alight, Ian led the hive openings, demonstrating where to begin and provided suggestions to hone observation skills. He transferred 10 frame honey supers pointing out one benefit of Ideals as he did so!
There were hand on opportunities for participants which included removing brood and honey frames using a J hive tool.The aim was for all to see egg larvae thus ascertaining the presence of an egg laying queen.Not only were various stages of larvae found but we witnessed a number of bees actually hatching as perfectly formed damp,furry looking bees. A bonus was seeing two of the Queens on the day. As one hive needed attention, attendees also saw the condition of wax and frames when a hive is neglected.Capped brood as well as white larvae the size of a pinhead, i.e. less than three days old, were seen. Differences between stored nectar and pollen were noted.Bees fanning at hive entrances were observed.
The afternoon finished after further theory re practical management/considerations of beekeeping and reference to the Code of Practice.
Hopefully the video taken of the sessions will be available to the Club for future viewing and photographs of the participants and the hive openings, taken by myself,will also be a record of a comprehensive introduction to beekeeping.
Thanks must go to Marg Knee for organising the venue and above committee members for their time,as well as Chris Gerraty for providing a movie camera, for an extremely successful and informative day that ended with participants abuzz and looking forward to the final session on 24th April.
Marg Morris. ( Southside Beekeepers Club Inc. Committee Member)