Ballarat Regional Beekeepers held its first Beekeeping Field Day on Sunday 10th April at the Ballarat Grammar Mt Rowan Campus. Eighty-five beekeepers attended the field day.
The association began in March, 2015. It has 65 financial members from Ballarat and surrounding communities, ranging in age from 10 to 75. Many members are both backyard and migratory beekeepers and have kept bees in diverse environments.
While most members prefer the Langstroth bee hive, some members have experience working bees in different types of hives, like Kenyan Top Bar hives and the much publicised Australian invention, the Flow Hive.
Both new beekeepers ‘newbies’ and master beekeepers come together on a monthly basis to talk about swarm collection, the impact of pesticides on bees and other pollinators, bee forage, honey flows, open hive events, apiary biosecurity and the management of bee hives.
Practical demonstrations were held throughout the day by master beekeepers who outlined the process for preparing bee hives for winter, called Pack Down.
Beekeepers were given the rare opportunity to observe the assembly of a Flow Hive and ask a panel of experienced beekeepers complex beekeeping questions.
Workshops for new beekeepers focused on the Apiary Code of Practice (2011) and Biosecurity and were conducted by Daniel Martin, Leading Apiary Officer, Agriculture Services and Biosecurity Operations, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)
A number of their beekeepers were selected and trained by Agriculture Victoria in Apiary Biosecurity as part of the State Quarantine Response Team(SQRT) and can be deployed to undertake rapid bee hive surveillance in response to apiary biosecurity threats like the Varroa mite.
Ballarat Regional Beekeepers Inc. is affiliated with the Victorian Apiarists’ Association.