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Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens


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Permaculture Techniques - Useful Animals in a Permaculture System


We have decided to include a bee hive in our permaculture system. The bees will ensure good pollination on the property and provide honey for our consumption, preserving, and beeswax for polishes, candles, etc.

We chose to use a commercial bee hive with removable frames for ease of use and compatibility if we decided to obtain more hives. Bee hives needs to be weather proof and placed in a cool sheltered position away from low lying boggy areas. Because of this we have placed the hive in centrally in zone 5, our native plant regeneration area. This provides access to flowering plants for the bees all year round, with access to the house garden, vegetable garden and orchard, plus neighbouring properties. It was important to site the hive in an area that isn't frequented often to avoid the risk of accidental bee sting. Our many shallow frog ponds provide year round drinking water.

Maintenance of the Hive

  • Hive frames need to be easily removed for inspection and working of the hive.
  • Inspection is needed to check for diseases (the Department of Agriculture have strict regulations on bees), and to check for the following contributing factors that lead to swarming (which leads to severe reduction in worker numbers, and therefore honey production):
        - congestion (inability to build new combs);
        - old or failing queen;
        - or an excessive number of drones.
  • Frames need to be removed and honey extracted at appropriate times. This should only be done where there is a strong flow of nectar (usually spring and summer for our locality).
  • Enough honey needs to be left in the hive as a store for times of sparse flowering (generally during autumn and early winter).
  • Comb foundation when properly attached to the frames will lead to 'perfect comb' which when worked by the bees will consist completely of 'worker cells' (not drone cells), joined on all sides to the frame, be straight, durable, and will withstand handling and stress of extraction.

When working the hive we always wear adequate protective clothing, light in colour and close fitting at openings. This includes a veil to protect the face and gloves. A smoker is a necessary tool to make the bees docile. A bee brush to gently remove bees from the comb and a hive tool for separating frames are also useful.

Specialist Knowledge and equipment required to harvest bee products. Care needs to be taken to ensure bees have sufficient honey for own use during times of little forage.

Honey needs to be extracted from the comb, then stored in sealed containers. Pure honey may candy during storage, to bring back to normal consistency warm in pan of water.

Honey, Wax, Royal Jelly, Pollination


Layla sent in this link of a list of herbs that bees like which she is growing in her garden. She also found these infographics full of tips. Also,the infographic at the very bottom is a list of native plants, which is a better choice for gardens.

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Copyright © Beverley Paine 2002-14. Article from this website may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this entire notice along with citation information (i.e., name of the periodical in which it originally appeared, date of publication, and author's name). Permission must be obtained from the author in order to reprint this article in a published work or to offer it for sale in any form. Please visit Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens for more original content by Beverley Paine.