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Let's Get Physi-cal

Physics provides a lens that focuses on our honeybee colonies in interesting new ways and a recent paper from Derek Mitchell at Leeds University’s School of Mechanical Engineering does just that. The mathematics is a bit challenging if you’re anything like me, but it’s possible to get through that, and he also has some worthwhile observations we can apply to polystyrene hives.  Mitchell’s current interest (Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD); his thesis was about differences in heat transfer betw
 

Bee and Wasp stings

1.         Introduction 2.         Venom Biochemistry 3.         Minimising the dose 4.         Treating the sting 5.         Topical treatments 6.         Systemic, toxic, and anaphylactic responses 7.         Ocular stings 8.         Beekeepers 9.         Caring for others 10.      References   Introduction New Zealand is fortunate to have very few stinging insects. These are members of the hymenopt

Dave Black

Dave Black

 

Social immunity and Hygienic Behaviour

Social insects like honeybee living in close proximity have a higher risk of spreading diseases and poisons among nestmates, so we would expect to find mechanisms that mitigate this. One of these systems is an innate immune system that provides an antimicrobial film on their exoskeleton, a hostile gut environment, a peritrophic membrane and gut epithelium, and effective cellular and humoral defences. These secrete antimicrobial chemicals, engulf or entomb foreign materials, and provide enzymes t

Dave Black

Dave Black

 

21/9/18 Colony update

Not totally bulging at the seams but definitely growing. This is the 2 frame nuc that I have been feeding protein substitutes and sugar syrup all winter. They finally graduated to a second brood box today. By the End of October I think they will be ready to split and add a mated queen to The queenless half. Bam! doubled a hive count instantly and plenty of time to build up for the summer honey flow.

dansar

dansar

 

7/9/18 Colony update

The drawn empty frame I checkerboarded a week or so back has now been populated with eggs and newly hatched larvae, honey and pollen stored as well. There is lots of natural pollen coming in now and the bees have mostly left the pollen patties alone.  As the colony grows there are a couple of older brood frames that will be cycled out to make way for new frames.

dansar

dansar

 

Viruses, RNA, and Honey bees

For most of us viruses are confusing. Many people are unable to distinguish between viruses and bacteria and expect them to be much the same kind of thing, which they are not. Viruses don’t fit easily in to the various categories of living things we are used to dealing with, and actually whether they even are living organisms is arguable, and how they came to be still more controversial. Which is why there is never a clear answer about how we might kill a harmful virus.   Viruses are n

Dave Black

Dave Black

 

26/8/18 Update

Inspection of the nucleus colony today was pivotal in the development of this colony. The queen had all but run out of space to lay. 5 frames had about 80% coverage by attached bees and more out foraging.  Rather than potentially stalling the egg laying through having no empty cells To lay in I made the decision to transfer the colony to a 10 frame box.  Whilst transfering I placed an empty drawn frame 2 frames in from the internal feeder with the thought of providing a new brood frame

dansar

dansar

 

19/8/18 update

Colony is still expanding. Brood area is increasing significantly. Still shot gun pattern although every cell has either a pupae, larvae or egg in it. Some dodgy cappings but all inspection of larvae, pupae come up negative for AFB. If the laying pattern doesn’t improve by October this queen will be culled and replaced with a new season queen. Which is a shame as the current queen is an April 2018 mated queen.  

dansar

dansar

 

25/7/18 Update

Getting colonies sorted today for a sale I made, so while in the back yard I checked on the nucleus colonies I have been building up over the past few months.   Nucleus 1 is now covering 4 frames and has 2 frames with brood on both sides, a total coverage of about 1.5 FD frames.  This is excellent and the colony is heading in the right direction. By the end of August I reckon I will be moving them over to a 10 frame box.   Nucleus 2 has done extremely well and toda

dansar

dansar

 

13/7/18 Progress report

Overcast afternoon. Venturing out to the back yard recovering from a migraine.  Over the past month or so I have been feeding a couple of nucleus colonies 1:1 syrup with seaweed extract added. Also 1/3 of a Megabee premade patty. Nucleus 1 has continued to increase the brood area and there is a continuous emerging of new Bees now, and in turn the population is noticeably getting larger to care for the corresponding increase in brood. I added 1 Apivar strip after adding some bees from a

dansar

dansar

 

Honey Bee Families

The promiscuity of honey bee queens generates lots of interesting questions about social insect society, many of which relate to the many different ‘sub-families’ that co-exist within a colony.  For example, do individuals within a colony overcome their self-interest to rear the ‘best’ replacement queen in an emergency or do they try to pick their closest relative? Just how far does social co-operation extend? Emerging recent research is starting to suggest that, apart from picking well-fed larv

Dave Black

Dave Black

 

29/6/18 Progress report

Nucs are going OK with 1-1 1/2 frames of brood and some older brood starting to emerge. Today I topped up syrup and added another 1/2 of a MegaBee pattie. Brood area is increasing in all the hives. Nuc #1 has some dodgy looking capping so I have inspected those and a few more cells. All is OK so far but I will remain alert the this in future inspections.

dansar

dansar

 

Progress 16/06/18

OK so a quick look in the nucs today. Overcast grey skies but relatively warm so lots of bees were out flying and good amounts of pollen on the returning bees. Colours ranged from vivid orange, yellow and a small amount of white.   Todays task was to add about 500ml - 1 litre of 1:1 syrup to each nuc feeder and have a look to see if brood rearing has increased.   Both nucs are chomping through the Megabee pattie and all the syrup add last week has on the whole been consumed w

dansar

dansar

 

Day zero

It’s 8.58pm and I am sitting by the fire. To date I have added a pollen patty to all of the 5 frame nucs and fed them copious amounts of syrup to get at least 3 frames of feed in the boxes. So far this has worked. There are a few 3 frame nucs that are house in 3 way boxes. They, apart from only 3 frames of bees are looking happy and the combined warmth from sharing a common hive body seems to be helping them. Each of these 3 way nucs has a 500ml container sitting above on the hive mat. This feed

dansar

dansar

 

Moisture removal, honey drying

I have been experimenting with moisture removal over the last few years and we now have the ability to build machines to remove water at 4 litres p/hr from honey at 35 degrees. If you have fermentation issues or concerns I have been investigating this issue a lot but there is still lots to learn. Always keen to share and learn from others. 

Manuka Engineering

Manuka Engineering

 

North Shore in Auckland

Looking for somebody that may have some beehives that they may wish to put on our property that has many fruit trees and a large garden. We are in the middle of a big residential area that has plenty of food for bees so would be very keen to hear from somebody. Thank you

Keith Kerr

Keith Kerr

 

Over the fence: Perspective on managing acaricide resistance

This article was originally published in 2015   Everybody needs to look over the fence once in a while, especially beekeepers. Something that caught my eye recently was a study looking at weeds and glyphosate resistance, a study which itself took a glance over the palings at antibiotic resistance in hospitals. Resistance is not a phenomenon unique to beekeeping, it is universal and, at its simplest, just about how organisms adapt and evolve in their environment.   From our po

Dave Black

Dave Black

 

Another look at American Foul Brood

The bacterial brood disease American Foul Brood (AFB) occurs worldwide and leads to significant losses of honey bee colonies every year. In several countries, as in New Zealand, AFB is a notifiable disease and infected bee colonies have to be burned to contain the disease. Although it has been under investigation now for more than a century, the underlying characteristics of the host–pathogen interactions on larval level remain elusive. An effective treatment of AFB does still not exist, partly

Dave Black

Dave Black

 

30/09/2017 - super up

Checked both hives.   The split hive was fed syrup for the past week to encourage comb-drawing, which has worked very well - the checkerboarded top box has a good amount of uncapped syrup on freshly drawn comb and the queen is busily laying in the middle - no queen cups / cells. Sugar shake tested for varroa from brood frames, no mites fell on the plate. Removed varroa strips and the top feeder, added a honey super above QE. Happier about the stores situation now than I was last week -

AeroviewBrewery

AeroviewBrewery

 

23/09/2017 - decision to split

Hives   Went through the hive with the old (failing) queen and the new prolific one. The queens are separated with a QE so I know what's happening with each one. Hive is doing really well in terms of numbers of bees & brood.   In the failing queen FD, the bees had made a supersedure cell from one of the playcups - it had been capped during the week. No swarm cells anywhere - just the one supersedure. My guess is that the nurse bees in that part of the hive couldn't smell

AeroviewBrewery

AeroviewBrewery

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