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Home Karinya Bees

Bee Keeping

I am looking at setting up a bee hive at the back of the block.

I was tagged in a post from Nole Blake about a new type of bee hive design which makes harvesting the honey a lot easier, safer and doesn't disturb the bee as much.

Called the "Flow (TM) Hive". Have a look at their web site for more information.

In my honest opinion, the full flow hive (complete 8 frame Bee hive with two boxes and 6 Flow Frames) which is well over $950 Australian dollars is extremely over priced for what you get. And you also have delivery on top of that.


 The way I have gone is to get the 6 or 7 flow frames (6 for an 8 frame box or 7 for a 10 frame box) and then find a local Bee keeping supplier and get a full Bee hive from them! Just need to modify one box to suit the flow frames and that’s it.

I have purchased a beginners kit with the complete 8 frame bee hive, a hive tool, hood, overalls, gloves and a smoker including frames, wax foundation, wire and everything else required to get started for $350.00.

So, for $700 or so dollars AU I have all the parts to get started.

All I need after purchasing the beginners kit is to register with the relevant state authorities, pay the relevant fees and buy some bees.

More to come as it happens.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 October 2015 15:42

Western Australian Bee information

Beekeeping for small landholders in Western Australia

This information can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Food wesbsite Here

Beekeeping can be a rewarding hobby, but there are many things you need to consider if you are planning on establishing and managing beehives.

Only a relatively small part of Western Australia (WA) is suitable for beekeeping as much of the landscape lacks the melliferous flowers needed for honey production.

Most beekeepers in WA do not solely depend on beekeeping for their income, but instead complement it with a range of other enterprises or activities.

There are currently more than 960 registered beekeepers in WA with nearly 29 000 hives. More than 90% of these are amateur beekeepers.


Honeybees vs. native bees

Beekeepers usually keep European honeybees. Although there are more than 2 000 different types of Australian native bees, they produce very little honey and most native bees do not live in colonies, making it harder to manage the bees and collect honey.

There are three main races of honeybees:

Italian – native to Italy it prefers sub-tropical and cool temperate areas. It is the most widely distributed honeybee.

Caucasian – native to Europe and North Africa it prefers colder climates.

Carniolan – native to Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia it prefers colder climates.

Requirements for keeping honeybees

When keeping honeybees there are a few things that need to be considered.

If there is not already a water source located with the bees, you must provide one.

All used hive components not being used to house bees must be stored in a way that bees cannot gain entry to them.

Observe hive density limits for hives set up in built up areas.

Ensure bee flight paths do not interfere with neighbouring land, roadways and walking tracks or paths.

Check your local government authority (LGA) regulations as approval to keep honeybees may be needed.


Handling bees

Bees are cold blooded insects, therefore it is best to handle them on warm, sunny days when their activity increases and they are less likely to be in the hive. There is a greater chance of aggressive behaviour if you try to handle bees on cool, overcast days.

Once the beehive is opened, the bees will take several hours to settle down again.



Maintain colonies with young docile queen bees. Your beehive will need to be re-queened if the performance of your beehive decreases or your bees are particularly savage.

When purchasing a new queen consider temperament (especially if you are an amateur beekeeper), honey production and swarming tendency.

In Western Australia there are a number of beekeeping supply companies that can provide equipment, nucleus hives and queen bees.


Pests and diseases

Good biosecurity practices are vital to ensure WA remains free of a number of exotic bee pest and diseases, such as European foulbrood, that are currently present in other Australian states and territories. Australia is free of Varroa mites.

If exotic pests and diseases entered WA they would seriously affect the state's bee industry and negatively impact the agricultural and horticultural industries that rely on bees for pollination.

Diseases are easily spread when honeybees gain access to hives, beeswax, hive components and other beekeeping equipment infected with disease, potentially carrying disease-causing organisms back to their own hive.

Good apiary hygiene practices are essential to protect your business or your backyard hives from the entry of endemic and exotic pests and diseases and their spread if they are introduced.

During maintenance and honey extraction, work on one hive at a time and disinfect all equipment including the hive tool.

It is best to wear disposable gloves, replacing them after you have finished with each hive, or disinfect your hands or gloves after handling equipment at each hive. It is also helpful to number each frame so that you can return them to the same hive each time.

Re-queen your hives regularly to stop them from becoming weak.  Maintaining strong hives is a vital part of keeping your hives' pest or disease free, as this prevents ‘robber’ honeybees from entering the hive and potentially spreading pests or diseases they may be carrying.

Check your beehives and apiary regularly and report any suspicious signs of pests or disease to the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) immediately.

It is also good practice to have honey samples, bees and brood combs regularly analysed by a certified laboratory. Fees do apply for such testing.

The pest and diseases of bees that need to be reported if signs are present.

Name of pest or disease

Present in WA

Caused by



American foulbrood


Yes Bacteria

Spread by bacteria and spores contaminated equipment, ‘robber’ bees or drifting bees

Rapid death in larval tissue. Sunken, damaged and perforated cappings on the sealed brood


Yes Virus

Common in most hives but only causes disease in bees that are genetically susceptible

Larvae affected by the virus die once the cell has been capped

European foulbrood



Spread by bees gaining access to hives, beeswax, and equipment infected with the disease

Sunken and greasy cappings and foul

smell. Infected larvae die before their cells are capped in a twisted position and become yellow-brown

Varroa mite

No Parasitic mite

Spread through drones and worker bees, and the transport and movement of hives, used beekeeping equipment, packaged bees and queen bees

Deformed pupae and adults (stunting,

damaged wings/legs/ abdomens), Parasitic Mite Syndrome (PMS) and colony decline


Honey extraction

Before removing the supers (boxes) which contain the frames, make sure most of the frames are capped. This is a sign that the honey is ready to be harvested. The frames are removed from the super and a heated sharp knife or uncapping machine is used to remove the wax capping’s from each side of the frame.

Uncapped frames are then loaded into an extractor. The extractor is spun and the centrifugal force extracts the honey from the frames.

The honey, along with pieces of wax capping and the odd honeybee, is then passed through a fine mesh filter or allowed to settle for a couple of days.

This allows the particles to be removed from the honey so it is ready for bottling. Honey extraction can be done in a mobile van or a purpose-built facility.

All facilities must meet your LGA’s health regulations for a food processing premises.

Honey is priced based on colour and a 'P-fund reading'. The P-fund grader visually compares a standard amber-coloured glass wedge with liquid honey contained in a wedge-shaped cell.

The colour intensity of the honey is expressed as a distance (mm) along the amber wedge and usually ranges between 1 and 140mm. The lighter the colour of the honey, the more valuable it is to the beekeeper when sold to a honey packer.


Pollination services

Pollination of crops by bees is an integral part of the agriculture and horticultural sector. Without bee pollination some crops would suffer greatly reduced yields.

Pollination services are a controlled way of guaranteeing effective bee pollination of crops while also providing honeybees with access to a crops pollen and nectar.

In this situation beekeepers must ensure that bees are healthy and can effectively pollinate the crop while the producer must ensure that the bees are not disturbed or harmed (e.g. through use of agricultural chemicals).


Transporting beehives

Transport beehives at night, as all honeybees should have returned. While transporting the beehives it is preferable to cover them with a bee-net to stop them from escaping. Keep accurate records of all beehive movements so that in case of a pest or disease outbreak, possible risk areas can be identified.


Purchasing used equipment

Only purchase equipment from an apiary that is regularly checked for pests and diseases. It is important to ask for proof of the testing history and seek a vendor declaration to guarantee that the equipment is free from pests, diseases and chemical residues.

When returning to your property, isolate all equipment and clearly label. Sterilise to ensure that any pest or disease will not have been transferred to the rest of your hives.


Importation of bees, hive products and honey into WA

Bees (including queen bees and cells), used beekeeping equipment, honey, bees wax, pollen and honeycomb are prohibited or restricted from entering WA.


Chemical residues

It is important to ensure that when producing honey for human consumption there are no residue issues. Residues can result from metal leaks in extracting/storage equipment, pesticides used in agriculture and horticulture, and from the use of unauthorised bee repellents when extracting honey.

Any detection of residues can impact your market access. The National Residue Survey, operated by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), is the body responsible for managing the risk of chemical residues in Australian food products and as a result monitors the chemical residues in honey.

Penalties do apply if chemical residues are detected.


Legal requirements

By law anyone who owns, or has charge, care or possession of honeybees or beehives is required to register with DAFWA within 14 days of becoming a beekeeper. Registered beekeepers, both amateur and commercial, are allocated a hive identifier.

This identifier is printed on the Certificate of Registration and must be displayed on all beehives. Registration information assists the industry in the control of pests and diseases, and the prevention of residues in hive products.

Branding of beehives also enables apiary inspectors to identify the owners of beehives and notify them of pests, diseases, vandalism, theft and other problems.

To register, download a form from the DAFWA website or contact the Brands Office on 9780 6207.


Quality assurance schemes

There are two main quality assurance schemes that have been developed specifically for beekeepers and honey producers.

These are:



These schemes aim to achieve quality in produce and working standards to ensure the consumer receives a safe and healthy product.

It is also necessary to comply with the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Food Safety Standard, which requires food businesses to develop a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) based food safety plan.

When choosing a quality assurance system to incorporate into your enterprise, research which one will give you the best benefits, which one has features that will suit your enterprise best and fit easily in with your current activities and which one offers you the support and assistance you will need.

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 February 2015 16:42

How to set up a backyard beehive

 I'm not sure how to post this properly, but this is an article from the West Australian news paper by Trevor Cochrane and as such all credit goes to him and the West Australian news paper.

How to set up a backyard beehive

March 28, 2014, 2:00 pm


How to set up a backyard beehive

Already a big trend internationally, more and more West Australians are reaping sweet rewards from keeping bees in the garden - not least from the endless supply of fresh honey.

The average beehive produces 67kg of honey a year, and honey is much like other food groups - eaten fresh, it tastes better and is better for you. Apart from the fact that fresh homegrown honey is much richer in nutrients, another health benefit of coarse homegrown honey is that it has higher levels of pollen and the body builds up a tolerance and this reduces pollen-related reactions such as hayfever.

Adding a beehive to your garden will not only bring you a delicious supply of the best-tasting honey you've ever had, it will also make a positive contribution to honey bee populations. We all have an interest in ensuring their survival as, without them, agriculture is in serious trouble.

Australia may play a particularly important role in the health of world bee populations. A mite known as the Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that attacks and kills honey bees. The subsequent disease caused by the mites is called varroatosis. Australia is the only country on the planet that doesn't have this pest, which could accidentally be introduced through the importation of bee products. Being an island, it's unlikely we will see this pest unless it is introduced through honey products brought into the country illegally - something our border security agency AQIS is desperately trying to stop happening.

Colony collapse disorder is the next big worry. The reasons for this are not fully understood but it's suspected it's because of a class of insecticides known as Neonicotinoids. Imadaclprid, the active ingredient in Confidor commonly used and once considered a soft insecticide, is suspected as a cause. The European Union has suspended this product until further investigation is conducted and Australia began investigations in December 2012.

According to a paper published by Harvard University, it's suspected the bees lose their radar function when exposed to tiny amounts of this chemical through contact with pollen and once out of the hive, they simply cannot find it to return, leaving once healthy hives empty of bees.

One in every three mouthfuls of food we consume is the result of honey bee pollination.

There are 80 crops in Australia that depend on the bee as a pollinator. Those crops wouldn't exist if not for bees. It is estimated that bee products (wax, honey etc) as a direct industry are worth more than $80 million and, indirectly, $4.6 billion as our major crops, such as wheat, corn, canola and pretty much all fruit production, depend on bees playing the pollination role.

As such, there are many reasons to consider introducing a beehive to your garden.


The obvious way to provide a habitat is the natural way, for example, leaving dead tree trunks that have open holes and cracked branches that allow the bees to set up home.

Attracting bees to your garden to set up a hive also can be done by buying a lure - which uses a pheromone (known as the Nasonov pheromone) that bees are attracted to naturally - and placing it near the area you'd like to have bees settle. It's still hit and miss and this can be problematic when it comes to harvesting honey. Lures are available from companies such as John L. Guilfoyle in Bellevue.

Beehive boxes are the easiest way to manage bees in a garden and companies such as Guilfoyle's supply different hives for professionals and amateurs.

In Australia, we do not have a big range of beehive sizes or shapes. They are all standard multi-storey Langstroth-style hives (the white box form commonly used) with movable frames and a standard 48cm top bar. There are two widths - eight-frame and 10-frame. The frame holds the wax base, which the bees build their honeycomb on.

When it comes to getting the bees into the hive, the best way to go, in my mind, is to use a starter or nucleus hive with assorted bees and queens. These cost about $85-$100 per pack.

A beehive will cost about $200 to get started with an eight-frame box plus bees. Companies such as Bob's Beekeeping in Melbourne sell starter kits for $149.

You also can source a swarm in spring-summer if you prefer not to buy an existing nucleus or a hive. If you register your name with John L. Guilfoyle or your local council, they will contact you if there's a swarm in your area.

You also will need safety gear such as a protective suit and gloves, and supplies such as a smoker.


There are different honey bee varieties, with some producing better volumes or quality of honey than others and some being more placid and therefore easier to keep.

The golden Italian honey bee is considered the best for a home garden. They are available from John L. Guilfoyle for about $25 for each queen.

Stingless bees are becoming popular across Australia and there are four native species used extensively for honey production, although they prefer tropical environments, and the only naturally occurring variety doesn't live below the Hamersley Range in the Pilbara.

Local governments are not keen to see stingless bees introduced into the South West as there is some concern about their effect on our native endemic flora.


The best place for a hive in the garden is somewhere that's dry and ideally getting morning sun and light afternoon shading.

Avoiding high-traffic areas is wise.

It's important you provide your bees with a good food supply - so lots of flowering plants producing flowers all year round is good.

A water source also is important. See the box above left for advice.

One in every three mouthfuls of food we consume is the result of honey bee pollination.

The West Australian