Welcome to GCABS

 Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society Inc

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Do you know

How is honey made? What is the purpose of the hive?
Find out some interesting bee facts in our About Bees section.

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Beeswax Products

Local Honey

Club Membership

Beekeeping Events

The Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society Inc. was formed at a meeting of nine people on 20/9/79 following an Adult Education course at the Gold Coast College of TAFE.

The course was conducted by Mr John Rosser, who many years later appointed as the Patron of Our Society. From the beginning, the main aim of the Society has been to promote the Hobby of Beekeeping & to provide information & assistance to fellow members & members of the public in relation to the keeping of Honey Bees.

BEEcome a member

Become a Member or Contact the GCABS management committee here.

Latest Events

GCABs welcomes new members, existing members and visitors to attend and volunteer at all events.

Our regular meetings are held:

Committee Meeting: First Monday of each month

General Members Meeting: Third Sunday of each month. 

 

History of Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society Inc.

This article has been written based on information provided by Col Payne, one of the Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society Inc. founding members.

The Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society Inc. was formed at a meeting of nine people on 20/9/79 following an Adult Education course at the Gold Coast College of TAFE.
The course was conducted by Mr John Rosser, who many years later appointed as the Patron of Our Society. From the beginning, the main aim of the Society has been to promote the Hobby of Beekeeping & to provide information & assistance to fellow members & members of the public in relation to the keeping of Honey Bees.

The initial meetings were often held at John’s parents (Pop and Essie) home in Benowa, both of whom shared their vast knowledge and experiences with our members and were always there to answer member’s questions and queries. Elsie raised the family from their Benowa home while also breeding Queens for their own and other beekeepers hives whilst Pop followed the honey flow with the hives and collected the honey.

Both “Pop” and “Essie” became the Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society Inc. inaugural Patrons. At the back door of their home stood a Straw Skep which housed a working hive of Australian Native Bees that became Bob Harrisons’ inspiration for the design of the logo used by the club. In this, the Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society Inc. 35th year, several of the original founding members are still current members.

In the early days of beekeeping, the straw skep was used throughout England, Europe and most of the civilised world to house honey bees. The straw provided a good source of insulation against the weather conditions whilst the bees then made the interior waterproof by sealing the hive internally with propolis. The big disadvantage of straw skeps was the fact that the skep had to be destroyed to gain access to the honey and comb.

Under Australian Biosecurity Regulations, Honey Bees must be kept in hives that contain removable frames to enable each frame to be inspected for disease or infection.

Honey Bee Swarms

If you want to report a swarm of bees PHONE Gold Coast City Council on 5667 5990 and ask for Animal Management.

Alternatively call one of the GCABS members to seek advice on removing a swarm.

 

Public health and safety issues

Swarming can be alarming to the general public in residential areas.

Thousands of bees are on the loose and flying in a mass before they cluster on a shrub or enter the cavity of a house. It is common for people to become anxious about the possibility of bee stings. A swarm of bees is usually docile and will not sting passers by.

DO NOT SPRAY THE BEES WITH ANYTHING : fly spray, chemicals or water will harm the bees.

Why do honey bees swarm?

Bees usually swarm in spring or early summer. Swarming is the way bees reproduce and make more colonies.

  • In nature, swarming is a response to the impulse to reproduce and, unless managed, is the natural way that your honey bee colonies will reproduce.
  • The queen will leave the hive with about half the worker bees to establish a new colony elsewhere.
  • Swarming usually occurs in early spring through to summer. A thin nectar flow and plenty of pollen to promote brood rearing are the ideal floral conditions that lead to swarming.

What you need to tell the beekeeper

  • How accessible is the swarm?
  • How high is it?
  • Is it in a tree, on a post, or in/on a building.
  • How long has the swarm been there?
  • The location (address) of the swarm?
  • Are the bees getting into the house yet?
  • Please note there may be over 40,000 bees in a large colony.
  • Some beekeepers may charge for this service but most will accept a small donation towards their club.

Types of swarm

  • When the old queen leaves the colony with half the workers – this is known as the prime swarm.
  • The parent colony is left with a number of ripe queen cells to produce a replacement queen for the original colony.
  • At times, another swarm will leave the original colony with a virgin queen hatched from these queen cells. This swarm is much smaller and is called a secondary or after swarm.
  • In other cases, the whole colony, headed by the original queen of that colony, absconds the hive. This is often a very small swarm and is called an absconding swarm. An absconding swarm can be triggered by starvation, invasion of pests or disease.

What do honey bees do after swarming?

  • On leaving the original colony, the swarm will cluster as a group on a shrub , a tree branch or a fence.
  • Prime and absconding swarms headed by an old queen will usually cluster within ten metres of the hive they swarmed from. This is the ideal time to catch them.
  • Swarms headed by virgin queens fly a longer distance and often cluster higher.
  • Then, bees from the cluster will seek out a suitable cavity in which to set up their new colony. They can find a suitable location within a few hours. The cluster leaves their temporary resting place with the queen and goes to the new location to set up their new hive.

If you see a swarm of bees you can contact a member of the Gold Coast Amateur Beekeepers Society for advice.

For bees living inside a house wall or living inside a tree cavity please contact East Coast Bee Services or Bee Rescue Rangers.

Alternatively to report bee related issues please contact Gold Coast City Council on 5667 5990 and ask for Animal Management.

Club Contacts

Position

Name

Address

Address For Correspondence Secretary

PO Box 123 Nathan QLD 4111

President

GoldCoast.president@beekeepers.asn.au

Vice President

GoldCoast.vp@beekeepers.asn.au

Secretary GoldCoast.secretary@beekeepers.asn.au
Treasurer

GoldCoast.treasurer@beekeepers.asn.au

Buzz Editor

GoldCoast.editor@beekeepers.asn.au

Industry Contacts

Company

Email / Website

Australian Honey Bee Industry Council Email: ahbic@honeybee.org.au
Federal Council of Australian Apiarist Associations Email: ahbic@honeybee.org.au
Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC)
Honeybee Program
Website: www.rirdc.gov.au
Plant Health Australia Biosecurity Email: biosecurity@phau.com.au
DAFF QLD Website: http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/animal-industries/bees

State Apiarist Associations

Company

Email / Phone

Queensland Beekeepers Association Email: qbainc@bigpond.com
NSW Apiarist Assn. Inc Email: info@nswaa.com.au
Victorian Apiarist’s Association Phone: (03) 5446 1455
South Australian Apiarist Association Email: secretary@saaa.org.au
Tasmanian Beekeepers Association Email: secretary@tasmanianbeekeepers.org.au
Western Australia FFI Beekeepers Email: lucy@wafarmers.org.au
Northern Territory Beekeepers Association Email: festingfamily2@bigpond.com.au