Friday, August 12, 2011


We've just had a huge dinner at the pub with Alan and Annie, (dentist, South African, comes to do stints here. Nice folk, from our home province.)

Our pongy-pit is filled in and hopefully will work. If it doesn't rain too much... fortunately this is not our house, if it was, I think some other kind of plan might have to be reached, medium term. It's a valuable lesson though. Had a good chat with the plumber's son, who is also the local beekeeper. I'm half convinced into trying some bees... have to look at costs.


  1. The main cost of bee keeping is getting the initial kit (hive, contents, extractor - though you can probably borrow that) and (if there aren't any swarms) the colony. Once you're up and running costs are minimal. Clothing need not be a cost, just find some mosquito netting or similar and attach it to a widebrimmed hat you don't need and you've got a veil. Other than that all the clothing needs to do is protect the skin and stop the bees getting in so (for example) a decent cagoule & trousers is entirely sufficient as long as you tuck the trouser ends into your boots.

    Of course the problem is that you have to find a place to put the hive(s) that will allow them to flourish and won't upset neighbors. My father kept his in the corner of a local farmer's field for some years and has them in the middle of a paddock where no one goes. The owner of this paddock has now been stung by this hobby so he too has a hive in the same paddock.

    The other problem bee-keepers in Europe (and the US) face is that bee colonies often seem to succumb to a variety of diseases and these seem to have recently mutated to become more virulent. I suspect that Australia's isolation and Flinders' even more isolation means you won't suffer that problem.

    PS When my father had his bees in the field he used to cycle to the hive (2-3 miles away) to do whatever maintenance was needed. Since a beekeeper's veil etc. is kind of bulky he'd wear that on his way. One time he swapped out frames filled with honey for others to take the honey laden ones home to process. He wrapped the frames in a couple of plastic bags, slung them on the back if the bike and began to pedal his way back. Normally the bees give up chasing once the intruder has left the area - even if he did nick their honey - so this is quite a straghtforward event. Unfortunately this time he managed to poke a hole in the bags and honey started to drip out. Hence the bees did not lose interest and followed him. Now the combination of veil plus speed of cycling meant that my father was entirely unaffected by the large cloud of bees following him, but residents of the village he cycled through were unable to tell this and it probably looked pretty bad. One called the local police who hopped into their patrol car and drove up to help.

    So we have my aged parent pedalling along a road when a police car pulls up beside him and out of the wound down window a voice enquires "Are you having any problems sir!" followed shortly by "awk! go away bees!" and other exclamations. Followed by the police car abruptly stopping and the occupants exiting it at haste followed by a number of small buzzing forms. Well this does finally cause my father to note that yes there are a lot of bees following and that they aren't very happy.

  2. Oh Francis, that is a classic tale! Should have come with a spew warning. Yes, Andrew (local beekeeper) has offered me a swarm and apparently Flinders is so far free of problems.