Feature of the month
Sharing some of our joys, highlights and worries of beekeeping ...
March 2012 -
Already back in January we did notice many thousands of small beetles around our beehives in Belgrave, clinging to tree branches in layers, similar to a swarm of bees. Some hive lids were covered by them and we had to brush them off to be able to remove the lid. We had never seen so many beetles before, it probably has to do with the regular rainfall we have had throughout the year. About two or three weeks later most of them had disappeared. The beetles are slim shaped and are about one centimeter long, their appearance is black and amber with a soft body; an amber body and neck with black wings and a black head.
When early in March a large gum tree in our neighbour's backyard started flowering the same kind of beetles also appeared in our backyard by the thousands and we did some research to figure out what kind of beetle we are dealing with -
These beetles are visiting the same flowers our bees are collecting pollen and nectar from, mainly in the large gum tree -
What appears to occupy the beetles the most though is mating. Among those layers of beetles clinging onto plants and other objects most of them are copulating.
Silver Stringybark Eucalyptus cephalocarpa
Eucalyptus cephalocarpa, also known as Mealy Stringybark has started to flower sporadically in some areas in the Dandenong ranges and the bees in this region, who did not have much at all to collect this season, will finally be able to collect some good pollen and produce some good honey before it is getting cooler again.
If you are keeping bees and your hive does not feel heavy* at this time of the year start feeding them sugar syrup now!
It gives them the energy they need to roam further and collect more pollen and nectar. If the colony does not have sufficient honey stored they conserve the little they have and "stay home" rather than extensively foraging for food -
If they haven't had the chance to fill up their stores until now there is not much time remaining before it is getting cold again. How to feed?
* As a rule of thumb a common wooden 8-