Working bees

Beekeepers use veils to prevent getting stung in the eyes or on their faces. Some use gloves and suits as well. Archibalds breed their bees away from aggression, so as to make working the bees a lot easier.

Another name for a beekeeper is apiarist. Apiarists can breed their own queens or buy from queen breeders, who will post the bees out to them. The bees bought this way arrive in little boxes, flywire on top, one queen and 3 or 4 workers to look after her and a little candied honey to eat in each box.

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Working the bees

Bees have two main natural enemies. One is bears. Therefore don’t wear dark Woolly clothing near them. That will stir them up and you’ll get stung. The 2nd enemy is fire: This frightens them and they don’t sting – they just try to hide, so therefore beekeepers all use smokers to control the bees.

A smoker is a can of fire with a bellows on it to draw air over the fire and cause it to smoke.

There are three breeds of bees used for honey production in Australia: Carnolian, Caucian & Italian. Italian bees are more yellowy, Caucian and Carnolian are darker coloured, with Caucian generally being the quietest. Bees are bred for their gathering ability and quietness.

The beekeeping industry in Australia is quite small. Many apiarists are part time in the industry, but there are large apiarists as well. Archibald Apiaries andRichardson Apiaries,(brother inlaws) work together, and within a small circle of apiarists, helping each other with information on honey flows etc.