January 2012 - What a difference a day makes.
An article in The Australian Bee Journal of January 2012 says: North of the divide where there is a summer things are going well for beekeepers. South is a completely different picture as we are having the coldest of springs and beginning of summer. Hives have to be fed, not much is out and the bees are 'doing it tough' [web link to source] - well, this just confirms our experience this season whilst keeping our beehives south of the Dividing Range - wide areas of luscious green, but very few flowers and only sporadic small patches of eucalypts in blossom.
After having relocated some beehives to one of these rare patches with eucalypts in flower, you might think all is fine now for your bees - the hailstorm on Christmas day stripped most trees in the area of their leaves and of course their blossom - a devastating picture - too sad to take a photo. This one day brought an end to the influx of nectar and pollen for the bees in this area - so the hunt is on again for "greener pastures" while feeding continues with some new, developing colonies.
In some other areas Blue Gum Eucalyptus globulus (photo) are just starting to pop open their buds and if weather conditions stay warm and dry we can expect some good pollen and honey to be collected by our bees - before this season comes to an end.