Keeping bees healthy - moving bees

Keeping Honeys Bees Healthy: “Moving Bees”

 

One of the ways Australian beekeeping is different to many parts of the world is the way we move our bees to ensure a continual source of nectar and pollen. In the industry, we call it “chasing honey”. Commercial beekeepers “chase honey” (and that also means we chase flowers) to make sure the bees always have a food source so they are fat and furry and don’t starve.

healthy bees are fat and furry

Healthy bees are fat and furry

While some beekeepers in some countries routinely feed bees sugar, corn or rice syrup to prevent starvation, generally speaking, Australian beekeepers dont have to. Can you imagine a forest of eucalypt trees all flowering at the same time? Its an image that occurs frequently in Australia. Its also one reason Australian honey is highly valued in the international honey market.

The Apple Box tree in full flower

The Apple Box tree in full flower

 

Australia has a huge variety of flowers trees, bushes and ground cover, so we can usually find a source of nectar and food for our bees – but it means we have to move bees.

A cluster of flowers from the Apple Box Tee

A cluster of flowers from the Apple Box Tee

 

When we transport bees from one location to another we either load the bees at night, or very early in the morning, and then unload them off the truck at their new location before sunrise.

These are see some of the beautiful moments we experience when we move our bees :-)

The flowers have finished on this trees, so its time to move these bees

 

Getting to work, smoking the bees and loading the hives using a bobcat

When preparing to move hives we smoke them, we stack them and then we load them….

Len, 2nd generation, int he bobcat

Len, 2nd generation, int he bobcat

Todd, 3 generation, smoking the bees before they get stacked

Todd, 3 generation, smoking the bees before they get stacked

One pallet of bees is picked and placed on another to make a stack

One pallet of bees is picked and placed on another to make a stack

A stack of beehives ready for loading onto the truck

A stack of beehives ready for loading onto the truck

Len, takes the stack of beehives and places them on the truck

Len, takes the stack of beehives and places them on the truck

Loading the stacks of bee hives

Loading the stacks of bee hives

When all the hives are on the truck, the bobcat is loaded as well.  Then its a matter of “roping” or “strapping” the hives to tie the load down. We start on one side of the truck, and throw the ropes or straps over.

Loading the stacks of bee hives

Loading the stacks of bee hives

Once one side is done, we move to the other side and finish tying off the ropes.

Finishing off

Finishing off

We do one last check around the load and then we leave.

The final check of the load

The final visual check of the load before leaving

This bee site has been used by our family for nearly a century. We always make sure we leave it in a similar state to the way we found it.

A bee site used by our family for nearly a century

A bee site used by our family for nearly a century

On the way, the beauty of the Australian bush is mesmerising. We travel along some beautiful country roads when entering and leaving our bee sites. We have to stay focused for one last chore because on the way out we collect our beekeeping sign.

The way out, a beautiful country rode

The way out, a beautiful country rode

 

Len, collecting the beekeeping sign

Len, collecting the beekeeping sign

 

This load of bees was being moved to pollinate a sunflower crop. Sunflower honey is an amazing bright orange with a zesty, almost citrus flavour. We were a bit late getting there.. the sun was already up.

The way into the next bee site next to a crop of sunflower

The way into the next bee site next to a crop of sunflower

After driving to the new location we untie all the ropes or straps and take the hives off the truck.

Removing the ropes and straps at the new new bee site

Removing the ropes and straps at the new new bee site

When placing the hives at their new location, we smoke them, unload them and unstack them. These shots are all at the same location, from different angles. The diversity of Australian flora is breathtaking and a source of constant beauty to us in our work.

Unloading the bees at the new bee site

Unloading the bees

A stack of bees being placed at a new location

The stack of bees

Unstacking the hives

Unstacking the hives

Todd, smoking the hives as they are unloaded

Todd, smoking the hives as they are unloaded

Breathtaking images of Australian Beekeeping - moving bees at sunrise

Breathtaking images of Australian Beekeeping – moving bees at sunrise

 

The last beekeeping chore on the way home is to place the beekeeping sign on the gate. Then we go home for breakfast and a nap.

Placing the beekeeping sign on the gate

Placing the beekeeping sign on the gate

 

We hope this helps you to understand the non-intrusive nature of Australian beekeeping, that eucalypt forests are the main source of Australian honey, and that at times, we work in partnership with other farmers to pollinate their crops.

We look forward to hopefully sharing some sunflower honey with you…

Len, 2nd Generation with bees on the sunflower

Len, 2nd Generation with bees on the sunflower

Kind regards

The Honey Delight Family

:-)

 

 

 

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