Sambos Urban Apiary - (Sydney NSW) -


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).

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).

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!

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!

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