SPG - Beekeeping workshop

Post date: Feb 21, 2016

Today the Stanthorpe Permaculture Group hosted the first event of the year. This was after a slow start to the year due to general disencouragement from lack of attendance at the last few events of 2015. We decided to do a survey to find out what people out there thought and what they wanted. Our email list received it and it was posted to the Facebook page. A reasonable response was garnered and the conclusions were that the past events were desirable to attend, but other commitments prevented people from getting there and that there was positive response to the possible events for 2016 that we had come up with. So, we have tried a somewhat different approach by organising some more formal workshops, and varying the days and times held. We are going to try and give people more notice where possible. This is a challenge though..

Anyhow, 15 people came to the workshop today, and Denise shared her obvious passion for bees. Many attendees already had bees, so they shared their experience as well. The workshop was a mix of theory and hands on, with everyone getting sticky fingers in the extraction process. Patty as always provided yummy sustenance and Howard suited up to share the lead role of dealing with the full box of honey.

Explanation and demo of the 'tools of the trade':

Nuc, or nucleus colony box:

Lovely lunch:

Full box of honey after being lifted off the hive stack:

Uncapping the honey:

Appreciating the smell of the honey:

Spinning the extractor:


From a Permaculture perspective, important issues came up during the day. One was that of how man made chemicals negatively affect bee colonies; the neonicotinoid insecticides, other pesticides, and synthetic fertilisers. Second was that of how appropriate is it to be using plastic inside a hive. Also, the Flow hive came up in hive discussions and a newly bought one was even brought out for people to look at -> it is quite controversial especially with 'natural beekeeping' advocates not liking it at all (along with any hives where there is a separate brood box as it's not how bees in nature would live). This Milkwood blog post explains why natural beekeepers don't agree with it and I do not think it fits within Permaculture ethics either.

The workshop has hopefully provided an opportunity for people to decide if they are going to get into beekeeping and if so, provided them a network of people to work with as well as further ideas of how to approach it all. Thanks again Denise for sharing your passion and knowledge.