Thursday last week was an historical ride home with the truck. It had never been so fully loaded. With a honey harvest from three apiaries we could really the feel the extra weight as we drove home.
Archive for November, 2009
We had a great week of wild life encounters around the apiaries last week. We found that Echidnas had been digging up and eating the ants that had been bothering some of our hives, a brown snake was slithering amongst the hives at another apiary hunting mice who like to sneak into the hives at night and have a bit of a nibble and a big old sleepy lizard had been hanging out in the shade of one particular hive who’d been getting fat on dead bees. As the bees finish with life, their sisters bring them out of the hive to keep everything clean and hygienic inside. The lizard then takes this opportunity to sort out the freshest for his nourishment. Unfortunately the lizard had got grass seed stuck in his jaw but fortunately we were able to help him out by removing it.
It seemed to me that if we could keep these native inhabitants of the mallee happy then it’d be a pretty good biodiverse permaculture solution to pest control and keeping the apiary tidy. It was also just fascinating to observe the animals.
Last week we finished our work out at the Riverland for the season. We were bringing the orange blossom honey home and Tim moved the apiaries to sites for Mallee up around Yumali and Blue Gum close to Meadows. Due to the weather this season the yeild on orange blossom was not as bountiful as it has been the last few season. Either the bees weren’t keen on getting out in the cold or the orange trees just weren’t producing us much nectar without the much needed warmth of the sun. Since there wasn’t much of a nectar flow while we were working the bees were on the prowl for a bit of free honey.
A couple of weeks ago we went out to do some maintenance at a couple of our apiaries. While Tim was looking through the hives to check that the bees were all in good nick I had the pleasure of doing a bit of mowing under the scorching sun. As summer sucks the last of the moisture from the plants and the bees have to work hard gathering water for the hives, it’s not in anyones interest to have waist high grass growing all through the apiary. With a bit of mowing we’ve significantly lowered the danger posed to the hives by fire this summer.