Sambos Urban Apiary - (Sydney NSW) -

Alternate link "printed only" because of malicious site pages upon user machines substituted for the document !

Note to other beekeepers: "The close-up macro photos in this site" are done by a cheap instamatic camera (Nikon A300) that appears to be the only brand (Nikon) capable of that level of close-up macro in an instamatic camera. There is however, a clause in the efficiency of capturing a macro using an instamatic camera. 1. There must be direct sunlight on the subject or the shutter speed will be too slow and blurs the picture. 2. (machine brand specific) there is a green line and triangle for "zoom level" when the Nikon A300 camera is in "macro mode", keep the green line a little less than the green triangle zoom max. marker because past it or near it is too unreliably difficult to hold the camera in perfect focus with hands or on moving subject such as a few bees to gain an extreme close-up (they are chance only at that level).

Gardeners should note a number of points about bees.
1. When bees are present in high numbers, trees and plants that flower, do so for longer periods than they normally flower, they also produce more stems and flowers up to 200% more flowers in seasons when bees are present in high numbers by a hive nearby.
2. Flowers have a pacifying effect on bees and lower the aggression from the bees.

Note: While there are videos, these are bad viewer quality and only more intended as a record blog for myself although that may not seem to be. The audio is usually the most atrocious piece of the videos which is a pity because i usually use it reinforce what i learned as information. Many of thee videos run for some time and do not appear to be anything more than waffle (you are right!), but it is as i said more for me to keep special piece of information in a blog like format that incidentally is public!
You've been warned, the vids on my public video haring site are bad production quality and are boring because the are a data base record.

About the Apiary:

This is a small inner city urban bee farm (can handle only around two or three nucs an order every two months approx.) created from both domesticated Carniolan bees and Feral/wild mongrel European honeybees.
Never let it be said that mongral bees are no good because they are feral. To contrary, they are not inbred! Anything in nature inbred are usually useless and it never did them any good.
Feral, or wild European honeybees usually must fend for themselves in the harsh world of nature where mishap and famine can occur easily causing the colony to starve.
That starvation causes a wild feral queen bee to have lower fecundity(ability to produce worker eggs) and a shorter lifespan.
When a feral swarm is caught and built up into a domestic hive by a beekeeper, they are housed better and better cared for with better protected food storage , and thus a feral queen bee is much more fertile and productive almost instantly!
Once again, on the action of inbreeding, bees can inbreed to themselves thousands of times before it is a worry, however, as before, it never could actually do anything much good in nature finally.

The most recognisable sub species of European honeybee in these bees is "Dark bee" (Apis Mellifera Mellifera).

Fecundity of Bees What makes Good queens and good workers
"Managing" bees and the swarm structure by hive "format of 1 queen per hive" is a human created system that is a modification and "a massive mistake to assume it suitable for swarm keeping" because it is largely to collect honey while controlling swarm size and not the "chosen" behaviour of hive and swarm that was developed over "200 million years of evolution" - "It is an ASSUMED or PRESUMED misconception by scientists and beekeepers and any other educated onlookers". They presume that a hive will be successful and survive safely if there is only one queen present and she can lay a large number of eggs quickly continuously!
That is not how the Fecundity of a swarm operates naturally and successfully.

There is another half of the activity aside to the Queen and her laying, the worker bees themselves are responsible for the creation and upkeep of swarm cells that will hatch a new queen bee.
If Queens and bees are chosen for beekeeping/farming for their propensity to not build swarm cells then they are being genetically modified to fail survival!

Of the industry, there is not enough honey production in the world, there are not enough bees in the world European species or otherwise.
The "Apis Mellifera method of reproduction" is not merely mating and a laying queen, it is in actuality as much the actions and activity of the swarm at queen cell making. So called fecundity , reproduction and successful "survival" relies on the willingness for the swarm to build and care for and nurture-protect other queens in the hive.
This is where the behavior for the environment of swarm by the Africanized honeybee shows it is healthy and fecundation is right unlike European beekeeping techniques that are probably damaging the genetics of the creature for want of regulation adherence and commercial monopolization strangle hold.
Excess queens beyond a few when they are grown , can be caught and introduced to a nucleus and swarm a few Km away at a stabilizing consolidation site before return to a back yard.
The considered view is that a fast mass laying queen is fecundity, and that is quite wrong , High fecundity in Mellifera is done by the natural method of overloading the hive by extra queens - this means the workers behavior must be to queen rearing , and, the more times of year of swarm cells and the more regularity WITH more queens accepting each other (so to say) (in any species since when "actually"!) the better and can be considered the TRUE measure of fecundity. I have had two hives near die out because they missed the fact their queen was no longer present, and had not built a swarm cell !!!

Interestingly, the AHB Africanized Hybrid Bee shows the proper levels of propensity to queen rearing and queen protection(aggression) by their workers required to successfully survive and reproduce.
A queen be will kill another queen if her swarm is too low in numbers to surround and shield her, if her nurses and workers swarm numbers are large enough, it is probably the test of the required levels of stored food and pollen for the complete enclosed/housed swarm to allow committing reproductive swarm cell rearing. The AHB fulfills all the facets required to properly survive the modern world unlike the farmed European bees and their feral(wild) relatives they are derived.
The reason why European bee swarms numbers are dropping aside to ignorant intervention for commercial purpose is probably again human disturbance by the destructive and constricting effect huge human populations in developed areas commit against natural bee range extension section of the swarm reproductive process (leaving the hive "swarming") destroying biodiversity by physical habitat loss causing greater quantity of inbreeding of wild bee populations.

MY BEES (pictures)

This site is a small blog about "European Honeybee beekeeping" and my little apiary (although there are solitary burrowing Australian native bees wild nearby). It doesn't have all the information or knowledge.
If you want to learn about bees (European or Australian native) "two of the best sites on the internet" quite and very oddly happen to be "Australian"!

1 . Aussie Bee (Australian native bees)

2. NSW Department of Primary industries (DPI) - European Honeybee apiculture

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has many PDF documents listed purely for the public to manage , learn and understand European honeybee, management, care, pest control and requirements and regulations. These are both basic english and scientific as required.

If a N.S.W. council or county accepts use of something alike a waste land for an apiary then you can come to an agreement with them.
NSW DPI public lands usage

For the curious about Killer bees (AHB) this is a good PDF document link.
Africanized bees ("Killer bees') - AHB "Africanized Hybrid Bee" (not "African bees")

For the curious about "African bee" strains (start from here).
a. African bees
b. Elephants and bees

Aquiring bees:

You can order bees at any time (nucleus construction or double super hive (8 or 10 frame Langstroth but not Warre) construction, not bee package - although it can bee considered - no queen construction at this time).

However t it requires some time before the swarm colony is "properly started and stable of growth" (at least 2 1/2 months),
AND an up-front pre-paid non-refundable deposit must be taken first! for each swarm (and "box") required
There is no set time of year for when bees can be constructed in a nucleus hive (Although winter is not easy and dangerously intensive work). Usually, in the seasonal action it is early "October" in Sydney bees swarm.

Effectively it is possible to take some brood frames and bees and place them in a nucleus to cause a split swarm that constructs its queen from a young larvae, of this last action it is critical to get the correct group of larvae in a frame and a frame with sufficient food for the consolidation.
The process takes 5 weeks from start to have a fully laying queen, and 9 weeks that has been checked that she lays well.

It takes around 4 months to build a nucleus hive bee swarm from scratch (without strengthening), and usually this is done quicker during the "nine weeks system" by an action called "strengthening" to the new colony. 'Strengthening' is choosing frames of bees and brood to add to the nucleus after causing these chosen frames of bees to feel queenless (see Pic1.).
In Pic2. the larvae are much too old and near ready to be capped. There must be mainly almost microscopic larvae that must be around 1/4 the diameter of the cell maximum curled inside to use for the splitting brood frame to make a queen. Pic2. has at least one larvae suitable in a cell in the bottom right corner that is maximum size/age for this job.

Keeping bees:
It is essential that bees are in a suitable comfortable hive for both their and the beekeepers benefit.
If the hive is in a backyard with a state backyard beekeepers license it is advisable to use as small a hive as possible!
There are no actual restrictions to the type of "swarm housing construct nest system" but it is advisable for safety to use any of, An "8 frame "WSP brood" box Langstroth (not full depth and/or 10)", or a Warre type, or a "top bar" housing.
NOTE: There are state government restrictions and local council restrictions on "the number of hives in a housing block yard in suburbia "particularly"!
Link: Service NSW beekeeping registration site
The following picture shows parts of a rectangular "box-stack" type hive (for general purpose either Langstroth or Warre)
Link: ENLARGED (picture)

This is only because keeping the "swarm size" small allows better protection from starvation when forage is low seasonally, and also to prevent and inhibit attack from the swarm if they are disturbed!
A "rule of thumb" is, the fewer bees in a swarm, the less likely attack and the less severe!

Environmental Conditions:
Contrary to popular belief, beehives can overheat in some climates, mainly however, it is the "brood temperature" that is of concern not particularly the workers conditions. Bees brood is kept between 32o Celsius (89o fahrenheit)) and 38o Celsius (100o fahrenheit), but conditions above or below for extended periods can be fatal upon brood! Trying to pour more heat into the hive is actually a dead loss (pardon the pun), it is much better to understand the safety of the brood and "seal the hive body and super system properly" so temperature can be effectively controlled by the heater bees and the "water collector" - "cooler bees" that also fan at the entrance and in a long line from hot spots.

Another point to understand is that summer sunlight on a hive is an overheating culprit causing downtime for foragers and comb-builders because they must help to produce the correct environment temperature for the brood by collecting water to spit onto the comb and help fan hot spots!

European HoneyBees will work in conditions down to 12o Celsius (53o fahrenheit) in good weather and down to 16o Celsius (61o fahrenheit) in bad weather, so there is no abject truth that blazing heat is any form of key to success, only preventing leaking rain and preventing leaking or drafty air channels is required apart good insulator material as hive construction such as thick wood is required for constant reliable easy temperature control for the hive

About overheating - (for the following diagram image):
Direct sunlight on a tin roof of a hive can cause the internal air to be "directly heated to near 100o Celsius" (212o fahrenheit) from simply infra red radiation from the tin, that is why double shielding lid-roof is required "definitely / compulsory" on hives directly in summer sunlight.
The easiest way to understand the heat levels output by a tin lid directly into a hive is by "taking a look at the temperature and specifications chart of a brand of solar panel in the direct sun for its operating efficiency (google search a specs doc)" , The metal structure around a Solar panel does reach around 100o Celsius, (212o fahrenheit) and because of low density (thin material) it then has to dissipate heat by infra red more than convection because it becomes overloaded from continual high input from the direct sunlight!

Note: not mentioned below in the picture diagram for the lid system is the lid system is triple, done well it only requires the tin lid with riser-edges with four air vents, and the hive-cover-board with a minimum 1.5cm hole drilled through in the center of the board, to assist both oxygen flow and minimal air drainage in hot or cold weather(allows flow - movement of air), some fly-wire mesh over the hole to prevent bees being lost if they crawl through it.
The vents in the risers between the tin(armor) lid allow flow through to directly remove overheated air, it as much form its own chamber pressure convection system, and across the central hive-cover hole(venturi).

Inversely to heat, there is winter!
Two things assist in winter,
1. Covering the top set of frames (upper most super) with insulation material, or in a growing hive, over the brood box frames.
2. Closing off the main slot door to prevent wind entering.
(Note: in the following picture "ignore the size of the hive cover hole" - it should only be 1.5cm diameter max. thereabout)


However, there is "a subtle problem when temperatures plummet to winter" (daily maximum temperature is regularly 20o Celsius (68o fahrenheit) or less regularly) in environments that do not snow. Ice "Wind" (wind chill can easily be -5o Celsius (23o fahrenheit) at night or twilight times ) is able to penetrate the brood boxes through the wide slot entrance in the base of the hive.
Not to worry, simply shut that slot gap to around four center-meters wide (4cm) and at the end/corner of the brood box that contains simply honey frames by covering it with maybe e.g. "industrial plastic cardboard" attaching it firmly.

If you do not, your hives' brood could die (and some will) or your swarm leave for a place warmer such as someones house roof internals!
When bees require to heat their brood and hive they consume immense quantities of honey!
Such stores of honey and pollen are also what they use to keep drones alive and to assess how much brood to keep and have laid.
If honey and pollen are low, they will kill the drones and the queen and workers will only concentrate on a small quantity of brood.
If continually blasted with ice wind they will leave for a better place., so no drafty leaks and only a small narrow few centimeters of door to prevent heat loss in winter and prevent heat loss from wind.

Most people think "fatal European honeybee attacks" in Australia are anomaly or they occur in some other country and belong to the "African or killer bee".
UNFORTUNATELY, that is "simply not true", even in recent years it has been found more and more that the AHB "Africanized Hybrid Bee" (Africanized Killer bee - Apis Mellifera Scutellata Lepeletier) mostly only attacks horrifically when provoked severely
(EXAMPLEs: throwing parts of their nest into skip bins from wood piles, driving motor lawn mowers over their nest entrance killing bees in the grass below and blasting exhaust into the shed wall too , ripping into their underground nest during landscape gardening , ploughing through their underground pipe nest on farmland...(the list goes on)!
What people do not realise is Australia has many poorly documented "ordinary" European honeybee fatal attacks, such as mother and daughter(baby) harvesting a backyard hive, the mother was killed by around 300 stings , the baby survived with around fifty stings.
A child in Lidcombe NSW Australia was killed by a hive of bees in a backyard while she played with a ball. A child bushwalking in Queensland was attacked and survived the 150 stings.
None of these attacks were AHB or African bees. Again in the USA there have been many mass attacks and fatalities from ordinary European strain honeybees also!

Bees have a "behavior" (isms - warning signs) when someone opens their hive, the same as wild bees do when a person gets near their nest at a close range.
When they get familiar with their beekeeper after 3 months they settle down and are much less risk. One main piece of help to them is to sit 5 meters away from their nest each day for 15-20 minutes out of the way of their main takeoff landing path for three months (as much anyone else that lives at the location, but always keep a woolen blanket for each person near the hive).
This next picture shows statically how the bees should be behaving "after opening the brood chamber box", facing in various directions with some only peering at the keeper over the frame top bar edges as shown in the next picture.

If attack could occur, it will show in seconds and often also is able to be heard as "the above of" the brood chamber is being removed, the low rumbling buzz becomes extremely audible and faster louder more intense!
However, if it is subtle, the bees will all start to peer from inside at the keeper and start to gather along the edges of the frames while peering out up over the frame edges(shoulder to shoulder) , then start pouring up into a sudden leaking(alike a stream) puddle(group) onto the frame tops and flick their wings (note: most of the bees will be facing at the intruder!)
The most subtle, however, is, lifting a frame and finding all the bees very slowly beating their wings together as "one" all-together up and down motion around one beat per second, moments after that they either collectively or one by one shoot out and sting!!!
Thankfully with that last version there is both a small few seconds delay before attack and the frame will often be partially in its slot being lifted when that is noticed, However! with wild hives, that is a common behavior on a wall beside a path before attack by a swarm of wild feral bees!

For Newbees (city dwellers):
One final version of attack by bees is the most common, it occurs almost every week in Arizona USA as their news shows, but everywhere else bees are found.
When a swarm moves into a new nest (and only for most wild bees),some of the bees (usually not a particularly large number but consistantly) attack everything nearby in the close vicinity and surrounding area for around a few days in a show of territoriality. These such attacks are merely part of their instinct and not as severe as real aggression, a kind of primitive instinct bonding moving in party!

It is estimated by medical sources that around 300 stings is enough venom to be fatal in essence. Some people are stronger others weaker and some alergic.
Many allergic people can now be treated by specialist allergy clinics to help their body liver and immune system to cope with envenomation of bees to the level a few stings mean little rather than possible death!
Of beekeeping dangers, Always wear protective clothing until you know all your hives behavior and temperament well and for at least 3 months with a new hive!
Always keep some easy throw over cover (e.g. blanket) handy to prevent or lower attack severity if present near the bees with no protective clothing!

Pic1. A typical "splitting"(swarm regenerating) brood frame (pollen , honey , larvae and capped brood).

Pic 2. Nurse bees on brood comb.The far right bottom open cell contains a maximum size queening larvae

Pic 3. A queenbee laying in the brood comb

Pic 4. A queenbee on the brood comb

Pic 5. A queenbee on the brood comb

Pic 5. A wild feral Dark Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera) "drone"

Pic 6. A wild feral bee swarm nest (and selfie)

Pic 7. Forager worker bee with pollen sacs full returned to hive

Pic 8. Brood box opened in one of the 10 frame Langstroth hives

Pic 9. Unripe honey on a honey super frame and wax comb being constructed

Pic 10. Inspecting frames in a honey super for progress

Pic 11. Starting a nucleus hive by splitting

Pic 12. Completed five frame nucleus beehive

Pic 13. (Macro close-up) of worker bees outside their hive together.

Pic 14. (Macro close-up) of worker bee foraging nectar on a Lantana bloom.

Pic 14. (Macro close-up) of worker bee foraging nectar on a flower blossom.

Pic 14. (Macro close-up) of worker bee foraging nectar on a flower blossom.