Hives from Laura Gardens Bees have had to be relocated to the Fleurieu as it has been too hot in the Mid North

HEAT TOO HOT: Hives from Laura Gardens Bees have had to be relocated to the Fleurieu as it has been too hot in the Mid North. Image provided by Laura Gardens Bees.

HEAT TOO HOT: Hives from Laura Gardens Bees have had to be relocated to the Fleurieu as it has been too hot in the Mid North. Image provided by Laura Gardens Bees.

Local Laura beekeepers Martin and Lorraine Gilbert from Laura Gardens Bees have had to relocate their bee hives due to the heat that the Mid North received throughout the summer. 

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, this summer should be on record as one of South Australia's five warmest summers, which has been detrimental to the business of our Southern Flinders beekeepers. 

"We would be at least 70 per cent down in honey production for this season. A lot of other beekeepers would be the same," co-owner of Laura Gardens Bees, Martin Gilbert said. 

"We have certainly lost production which has been a big thing for us and numbers. We are just hoping that with the Autumn coolness now, it might go up a bit and we might be one of the lucky ones and pull out of it okay." 

To help respite their bees, Martin and Lorraine have traveled down to the Fleurieu Peninsula, along with their hives to try and achieve some stability. 

"We are currently based on the Fleurieu and are 350 km from Laura and we are working the stringy bark which is also producing a little bit of nectar, so the bees are getting a fairly good respite and are starting to get their health back," Martin said.

What the beekeepers had been experiencing was a loss in their forager bees. They found they were going out of the hives, experiencing heightened fatigue and then not returning, which in turn affects the entire infrastructure of the colony. 

"Which has also meant there are not enough bees in the hive itself can help thermo-regulate the right temperature inside.

"There is a big lack of production and the bees seem to lose confidence to fly. If you have got younger bees that are not really old enough to fly yet, they have to become foragers, prematurely. That also affects the infrastructure of the colony," Martin explained. 

The beekeepers estimate they have lost about fiver per cent of their hives, either from dying out or melting down. They believe that some hives could have been weaker than others and some could have been trying to start.  With a large loss, the beekeepers are optimistic their bees will regain full strength and be back in working action after their respite. 

"Relocating is the best thing we can do. You always get nice breeze of the south ocean. If you stick to the coast, it is always a respite. We have always done this in the hot years, as soon as the bees are strong enough to be traveled, we take them somewhere to where there is a nice cool, evening wind."

The bees and beekeepers will be back in the district for the Spring pollination of Canola and banes, and will also be in the Riverland for the almond blossom.