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About Beekeeping

Apiary operations in Australia are migratory, due to different floral resources being available in widely-spread areas at different times of the year. The bees must be presented with pollen and nectar resources all year in order to stay alive and maintain a healthy queen. During the colder months, it is especially important that good pollen is available. Bees also require a varied diet of different species in order to maintain health (the same as humans requiring a balanced diet).

During the winter, many apiarists move their bees to “wintering sites” to take advantage of the pollen and nectar resources in remnant scrub areas of farms and a few conservation parks. Many of these hives of bees are then transported by truck to the almond groves in the Riverland in readiness for the July-August flowering. Commercial almond trees require cross-pollination by bees in order to produce almonds.

Following this, some bees may be moved to early flowering mallee species, or canola, then citrus orchards, and others find ground flora brought on by spring rains.

Later in spring and into summer, bees may be moved to areas where there are stands of native trees, e.g. bluegum and some mallee species to take advantage of nectar flows for honey production. Generally bluegums will produce most of their nectar when the weather is hot and sunny. Many bees are also taken to market garden and orchard areas to pollinate other fruit and vegetable crops.

Summer sees some hives remaining near native trees, and many being used to pollinate Lucerne crops. Depending on the weather, and the types of lucerne being grown, this can be a useful honey crop. Some hives will also be used to pollinate the clover crops in the South-East. 

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