Beekeepers abuzz with excitement in new home

The Old Bega Hospital is now home to the Bega Valley Amateur Beekeepers Association’s new apiary.

The apiary will be home to a maximum of six hives that will be used for training purposes. While three Langstroth hives have already been placed at the site, the rest will be different types such as Flow Hives or top bar hives.  

Hive manager Graham Jones said the location means the bees will be able to access the edge of Bega, but will hopefully not bother those using the old hospital site. 

He said the club used to bring hives to the site for training days, but being able to keep some there permanently meant they would become a “confidence booster” for those wishing to develop their beekeeping skills. 

Mr Jones said the aim of the club was to foster good beekeeping practice.

“Whether you’re a commercial beekeeper or an amateur, like us, everyone must carefully maintain their hives so as to prevent and control disease, because if left unchecked could be fatal to the honey industry in the entire region,” he said. 

The club’s publicity officer Fay Steward thanked the Old Bega Hospital Trust for granting the club a licence to use their grounds. 

“Since establishment in 2014, the club has grown from a handful of members to around 40 – many of whom joined after discovering a passion for beekeeping through one our beginners workshops,” she said.

“People join for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they love being outside working with nature and are entranced by the complexity of beekeeping. 

“For others it’s concern about the much-publicised world-wide threats to honey bees and the consequential impact on world food production as natural pollination becomes increasingly difficult.”

Ms Steward said there was an equal number of men and women in the club and the ages of members ranged from 17 to mid 60s. 

The club holds workshops for beginners and experienced beekeepers, with the next beginners workshop on March 25 and 26 from 9am to 2pm.

Participants will learn about beekeeping, honey production, bee behaviour, how to set up their first hive, keeping bees healthy and how to stay safe.

“Backyard beekeeping is becoming increasingly more popular world-wide, so it’s really important that people learn how they can manage their hives in a way that doesn’t cause concern to their neighbours and visitors,” Ms Steward said. 

If you are interested in attending a course contact Sandy Farrell on 0407 959 312 or email treasurer@begavalleybeeclub.org.au.

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