Sunday, 6 January 2013

Unbeelievable: Creating a Space

Beehind this fence is a beehive....beelieve it or not!
I think it worthwhile to talk a little about how to create spaces for bees in Urban and suburban environments. If you are considering setting up a hive, there are a few things that you need to consider before you position your hive. Beeing sure that you have made the best choice is important beefore you actually pick up your colony, because changing the position of a hive can be hard... especially if it is only a small distance that you wish to move it. The girls will find it difficult to relocate, I have been told.

Firstly, the government regulations are quite specific about where a hive can bee, how far from boundary fences and what type of fences or barriers they should bee. I have seen a lot of picture of hives in very odd locations during internet search for more information on the topic. One hive, 4 supers high, was perched precariously on 4 paint tins, on a tiny back porch, facing out from a sliding door leading in to a living area. I had nightmares imagining this hive collapsing and a stream of angry bees rushing in to the apiarist's home.... Christ on rollerblades!!

Secondly, you want your hive to bee protected from winds, shaded during hot periods of the day and out of view of the general public. I erected this fence across my driveway to create a wind barrier and sight barrier for the beehive.

Another post I read about was a lady describing her concern about her goat interfering with her hive... "Maybe it whas ma goat who knowked ma hive?...." (you can imagine the sqwarks of laughter at 2am when I read this one... poor lady goat owner) so this fence will protect my hive from the goat man and his goat who occasionally mooch around West Footscray.

The Hoya and front veggie garden are visited by bees often.

After the fence was erected I created this space in the old driveway. Added two garden beds, planted them out with more veggies, repotted the old lemon tree and a few other old favorites... geranium, bay tree. And added a water feature for the bees right next to the hive. They love it.

It gets pretty windy in Melbourne, windy and hot in Melbourne summers and windy and cold in Melbourne winters. The fence really helps the forager bees land and take off from the hive when they are being blown about.

My last images for the day are personal favorites... watching bees drink sounds kinda boring and a bit nerdy, but they are beautiful creatures. Here are a couple drinking happily from the water feature I installed. All you need is a bird bath and some stones to act as landing platforms. As the water level decreases the bees still have water... and more exposed rocks makes landing easy.

So, until the next hive opening, the girls will be drawing out the comb, tending to the Queen as she lays her eggs, making Royal jelly and working bloody hard in general! Busy bees.

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