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BOP Bee Interest Group

  1. What's new in this club
  2. Thanks for that. Our SNI Group is looking into such software.
  3. The cost is zero at this stage because there is a 14 day free trial. Longer term, the cost is USD 14 per month or USD 12 per month if you buy for a year. (USD 144). This is cheaper than the other paid software (zoom) but zoom has a free version if you only need 40 minutes. Wearing another hat (Seaside Bees) we pay more than twice that to hire council community centre room for our beginner beekeeping course each year. So, even paying USD 144 it is a significant saving and allows us use of this for anything we want, so the Bee Group, Sailing Club, Engineering work etc at no further cost . Thus 'free' to the beekeeping group. I'll bet there is probably a member in most clubs that already has goto-meeting for their work (or soon will do )
  4. Fantastic. Well done. What is the cost for goto meeting software and use.
  5. March 29. The BoP Group had its first online meeting today. We used goto meeting software for phone tablet computer access. About 24 members attended. We went through a hive, looked at some new robbing guards and our first batch of mead ready to bottle. Then at end of meeting we switched on all the webcams and had a cup of tea and a chat. We finished on time and there was no lost time travelling
  6. The Group's website https://bopbee.weebly.com/ has been updated for the new swarm season and collectors google map. Meetings (last Sunday of month at 2pm) are going back into summer mode; at the apiary of a member each month instead of meeting at TECT park. Anyone (member or non-member) in the region or just visiting (between Katikati, Rotorua and Paengaroa) on last Sunday of the month, that might want to attend a meeting is welcome to make contact via the website to get current newsletter and meeting details.
  7. We have another two samples ready for composite test, but need 5 for the minimum $20 club rate. I thought we were done for the season, but now have 3 empty slots if anyone interested. But you need to be able to get the sample to me in Tauranga.
  8. Gosh, I never go here any more and look at all the messages! Thank you @ChrisM.
  9. We had some early rain that might have put some people off and Maungatapu bridge closed overnight due to a fatal, but the turnout was probably more than 30 people because the urn ran out of water and we got more underway. We started off looking at my own solar wax melters, these are poly fish bins with a polycarbonate window and using cotton paint strainer bags on a metal roof tile. Discussed dealing with old dark brood comb in a bag, under hot water with a brick. Looked at the spectrum of different wax cleaning methods from single hive hobby level to the more expensive wax melters that commercials might use to try to put it all into context. Then the weather cleared and members from Waihi/Katikati direction said they had a clear run, so we opened three hives. Silvana opened the front hive with half the group, and I opened the back top bar, followed by a Lang. We found colonies in good health with plenty of stores, these hives contained the tail end of the single stitching OAG strips (Phil Haycock). We had some quad stitched ones on hand but they were not needed. The Lang was nearly ready to squash down from two into one FD. The Top Bar had 10 combs of brood. The OAG strips were fairly dry but mostly still intact, they were left in place and none were replaced. I'm certainly not tasting them. Top bar was closed down a bit for winter with 9 bars/combs removed to make a smaller volume, but essentially the same volume of 2xFD was left in the hive. A long while ago the OAG strips had dealt to the finger tips of an old pair of leather gloves I had been using for strip placement, so I cut off all the finger tips at the first or second knuckle so there were "fingerless". From Blackwoods I had some gloves with rubber palms and a mesh back (originally purchased for concreting). I put on the rubber gloves first and the fingerless bee gloves second. This gives me rubber finger tips for the OAG strips and beekeeping gauntlets over the top. I find it very comfortable even to the point I might use then even when I am not placing OAG strips. Bee gloves only ever wear out in the finger tips (in my experience) and I hate throwing away disposable gloves and the sweaty nature of most of the disposables too. So, I had those gloves on show too in case anyone was interested. Actually I hate throwing away anything.. We had a bit of discussion about ants, cinnamon, bay leaves, DE, cut grass and moats. This was followed by cockroaches, chickens ducks and the storing of empty dry combs and discussing that wax moth do not like sunshine, cold and ventilation. Some members who had trouble with wax moths in previous seasons discussed that they would change their strategy on this where they had them stored in the dark, close spaced frames and fully wrapped up with zero ventilation; in other words creating a heaving mess of moth maggots. Dennis Crowley dropped in and just for our info, showed us the bee iq hive gate which looked pretty good; I'd describe it as a horizontal periscope or tunnel. The Lang in question already had a reduced entrance (no wasps around here) but we discussed that, vertical periscope mesh wasp guards and also landing boards generally (a.k.a. dining plates for wasps as Dave Black has described previously). We observed that some people put landing boards on flush hives and some people choose to cut off the landing boards on landing board hives: proof if it were needed, that you can't ever please all the people all the time. Then it was back around the front for tea/coffee/biscuits/baking and a bit of a chin wag. One of the Tutin test samples was poured into a specimen container and so on. Tutin testing demand has dropped off so I think we are done for the season.
  10. no more spaces available looks like we are done for the season unless another 5 people spring forth.
  11. that bunch of 5 specimens has gone for testing last week. Right now I have one specimen here plus 3 more slots booked, again leaving one final slot empty/available at the present.
  12. We have one slot remaining and four confirmed for next 5x composite tutin test. $20. Suitable for low Tutin risk confirmation. The extractors are both in use this weekend but there are now no forwards bookings, so most people seem to be all finished now. However if any members need use of a small manual extractor they're currently available from Apr 12th. $20. contact information for testing and extractors is on the group's BopBee website.
  13. Monthly meeting for March was held at Barry Kneebone's place in Katikati. It was a pretty wet day that reduced turnout to about 30 people. We had a bit of a chin wag in the shed. Looked at various feeders and bases and their merits or otherwise. Arataki propolis mats were viewed and discussed. We looked at Barry's home made entrance reducers and so on. Various questions came up so quite a lot of good background knowledge was shared. We spent a bit of time on harvesting, discussing blowers, brushes, bee-gone fume boards and more. Nobody was complaining about the rain, it was nice to have some. However, eventually the rain eased off so we went to have a look at a couple of Barry's hives that he duly took apart and put back together. Then it was off to the house for a cup of tea/coffee and the shared plates brought along by all. Sorry never thought to take a photo.
  14. The group's second extractor is a manual four frame that joins the three frame unit that has been in service for two seasons now. At the current time both units are booked and in use with members, but they appear to be the last bookings of the year with demand now tailed off. As most know the whole gubbins comes out for cleaning if you spin off two wing nuts. It will be fun to see if we can invent a top bar hive extractor that mounts with the same two wing nuts. Thus it could become somewhat ambidextrous for hobbyists.
  15. Yep this section is archived. I think we were waiting for functionality to allow us to move the contents from here to the club bit.
  16. now that the club facility is well established, is it now appropriate to combine all the BoP Forum posts and all the BoP Club posts in one place? I don't get to the forum all that often and it seems strange now that posts are in two separate places. Is it possible to consolidate into one focal point?
  17. The group's map has had a layer added for Tutin Test Results. The map now contains blue markers for swarm collectors, green markers for passed Tutin Tests and red markers for failed Tutin Tests. Anyone with a Tutin Test result from any site in the BoP region is welcome to forwards a copy of their test certificate from any year. These are placed on the map so as not to identify any individual nor an apiary site. Members and non-members are welcome to contribute and there is no fee nor block for non-members to view. There are not actually a great deal of test results to see, however, there are two red markers so far and anyone harvesting honey from those two catchments might be on high alert. Composite sample testing can be done from areas with a long green history. Individual testing is recommended in red areas. If you do access the map, it is suggested you make it "full screen" and toggle between collectors and tutin test results according to whichever layer you want to look at. https://bopbee.weebly.com/tutin.html
  18. I'm not sure if it has been mentioned but we also have a group webpage. It is a free one, so the url isn't flash. https://bopbee.weebly.com/ The Tauranga City Council webpage on bees externally links to this website for swarm collection in the BoP area. Members of other recognised clubs, branches and groups in the BoP are welcome to join the collector list; there is no fee. The website contains a map of collectors that can be taken full screen and zoomed in to locate nearest. https://bopbee.weebly.com/collection.html There is also a page on the group's extractor that can be booked & borrowed by group members for $20. There is a link to the facebook group and a link to this forum and details about meetings and newsletters.
  19. Hi Jordan, to join the club, please e-mail bopbeekeepers@gmail.com and you will be invited to the meetings once a month.
  20. Hey, I'm new to this whole beekeeping thing, just recently got into it, i read on some of the older posts that there were regular meetings, but since they were quite old i'm not sure if they're still going at the same time, would like to attend a meeting or two just to learn more, when/where is the next meeting being held?
  21. The first meeting of the winter programme was on Sunday. Besides the coffee, tea and feel-goodness we are going to try a little piece of structure this year to try and give everyone an opportunity to join in. For each meeting well have some pre-arranged discussion points. One will be of the ‘would you believe it/I never knew that /cunning devils’ variety, from me probably. For example, one random one might be “Is it likely Honey bees have clocks in their antennae?” Fun, not a lecture. The other will be much more open-ended and general, something where anyone regardless of their experience, might contribute and learn. This weekend we talked about “What do we have to do to ensure the health of our bees?”, and built a Wordcloud. If you haven’t come across Wordclouds there are just a graphic that displays and emphasises some text depending on some measure of it’s significance; the number of time a word appears or how important the word is for example. They are sometimes quite good at conveying the sense of a complex document, not that we said anything complex. Anyway, here is our first attempt at a Wordcloud.
  22. During the summer you will find the meetings often a bit closer for you than TECT. Looking forward to seeing you there @DuncanCook
  23. My first attendance at a BOP meet (the TECT venue is a bit of a long haul for me from Waihi). I found a frriendly and helpful group so thanks everyone I will certainly try to go to more in the future. I am very much new to bee keeping and am on a huge learning curve so was all ears. In particular many thanks for your critique and advice on my home made swarm trap Dave. Duncan
  24. Our October meeting was joined by the BOP Branch of the New Zealand Tree Crops Association (NZTCA) which is a voluntary organisation promoting interest in 'useful' trees. The Association had its beginnings in 1974 and, in its own words, thought that; "If farmers could be persuaded to establish a gentle landscape of shelter and windbreaks, woodlots, orchards, fodder crops and mixed associations of all kinds of trees and useful plants, then those farmers would benefit from enhanced pasture production through the combined effect of leaf litter, shelter and nitrogen provided by the judicious use of nitrogen-fixing tree species. As well, the combined effects of soil and water conservation, increased bird and bee population, and the revitalizing of our much-polluted atmosphere would vitally enrich the land. Other benefits would be an increase in the quality and diversity of fruits, nuts and timbers and their many useful by-products — in sum, an enrichment of all our lives by pursuing our tree crops goals." It's a vision that beekeepers must have some sympathy with, and I know that the organisation we are more familiar with as far as bee forage goes, 'Trees For Bees' ("smart planting for healthy bees"), have involved Treecrops in some of their work. The organisation now has a wide range of members, farmers and life-stylers, scientists and gardeners. Like us, the Association holds monthly gatherings, and recent topics have included planting tips, growing hazel nut trees, rongoa Maori with Rob McGowan, and a guided visit to McLaren Falls Park. I'm not sure either of us were quite sure what to expect on this occasion. I didn't think the weather was on our side, I left home in misty 40 - 50m visibility and continuous light rain, but by the time I got to Katikati an hour away it had dried out a bit, but it was still a surprise to find over hundred people gathering in and around a double garage listening to the host introduce the day, and me! The anticipated topic was 'Pollination' so I talked about the season, the main tree crops for the Bay, some of the difficulty there is in achieving, and knowing we have achieved, cross-pollination. My own interests in pollination encompass more than just honey bees, so the scope of the discussion included other bees and pollinators, how we can tell what is going on in terms of behaviours, and some of the sheer complexity involved, from nectar variability to bee attractants, to spays and chemicals. Interestingly beekeepers responding to the "what if I wanted to keep bees" question were on the whole quite guarded and cautious rather than encouraging! How times change. Nevertheless Seaside Bees were on hand with an empty hive to demonstrate, and that prompted an another slew of questions. The weather had given us an opportunity to go an open up some of the hosts hives for the visitors to see. I've really no idea what they saw as I was kept busy responding and advising the Treecropers that hadn't managed to speak earlier. There were a lot of bees flying around the garden, but no reports of any trouble over tea! Membership of the NZTCA costs just $50 a year, including the quarterly magazine, and promotes a range of interests closely aligned with many beekeeper's passions. I rather hope we can meet up again sometime.
  25. For our first apiary visit of the year the weather was reasonably kind to us, the temperature somewhere in the 15-17C range, a gentle breeze rising on a sunny but increasingly overcast afternoon. Our host had one hive to look at, the biggest problem so far being wasps, responsible for the loss of two others in the past and worrying at this one. The hive had three full depth boxes, and had an entrance screen doing a passable job of defending against the constant presence of wasps, although they were elsewhere today. The top box was full of unused combs, pretty well devoid of bees, so we put that to one side. The next box was clearly being used so we took that off too and stood it off on the up-turned lid. Going through that box on the hive is unwise; it just drives bees down into the other box. Far better to stand it off, check the undisturbed lower box first, and then return to our box. It helps that flying bees are leaving this to return to the hive-stand, making it easier to check. If you intend to inspect the whole hive starting at the bottom makes life a lot easier. The bottom box, with the entrance to the hive, was empty, the comb old and, in many areas, damp and mouldy. This is not at all unusual. The bees tend to work up through the winter into their stored honey and when colonies are small the bottom box gets abandoned. If the comb was in better condition one option is to simply ‘reverse’ the position of the two boxes putting the empty one on top to be used, but it is also an opportunity to get rid of old comb, melt it down and give the bees new. The only combs that will be kept in good condition are the ones that can be covered by bees. Now is the best time to check and replace or repair the equipment you will be working with for the rest of the year. In this case we removed the box, emptied out the frames, scraped the floor clear and put it back. Then we transferred all the combs from the second box, a pair at a time, into our empty bottom box. That was just because of the physical condition of the equipment; usually we’d just swap the whole box. For my spring inspections I keep a spare floor (or floors) with me, rather than clean up a floor in-situ. Spring inspections are best done briskly, minimising brood chill and robbers. By putting all the bees back on the floor we also improve the defence of the nest considerably; the empty box with an entrance was an open invitation to robbers. So our hive is now a single box and we turned to assessing the condition of the colony. For me there are two important things at this time of year, I want to know what food stores are like, and I want to check the brood. Here we had sealed brood in small patches over (I think) five frame-sides, and a high proportion of open brood (eggs and larvae) compared to sealed brood. We shook the bees off every brood frame so that the condition of the brood could be examined very carefully. Call it a foul brood (AFB) check if you like, looking for signs trouble especially with the sealed cells. While the pattern of sealed cells was very sporadic there was nothing actually wrong and it’s quite likely that was a reflection of the awful season so far; a reflection of the equally sporadic foraging conditions. The high proportion of open brood (without getting too clever) just tells you that the queen hasn’t been laying long, and that the laying rate is increasing. If we had more sealed brood than open, we’d assume the opposite, laying would be decreasing or may have ceased. If the brood pattern continued to be erratic we’d have to think about the condition of the queen. The hive was collecting a lot of pollen, many of the foragers we could see were laden with a good assortment pollen loads and there was some stored. In this location the pollen supply can be brilliant. Nectar too was present, but actually, by imagining it all collated, it probably amounted to one frame. Let’s think about that ‘nectar’. Whether it came from a sugar feed or direct from flowers it’s likely that it’s less than 30% sugars – it’s not honey. We can say honey is at least 80% sugars. In very rough numbers, finger in the air style, we know an average colony (20,000 – 30,000 bees) in the absence of foraging would use 2kgs of honey a week doing very little, and that’s about a frame’s worth. So if bees can’t successfully forage for some reason you will want more than twice that volume if the sugar concentration is less than half, so shall we say three frames of ‘nectar’? Minimum. And the space to put it in. Every week. Envisaging all the brood gathered together, sealed and open, we’d probably occupy the equivalent of two full frames. We can also estimate how many bees we have. Maybe I’ll explain it another time, but in a full-depth hive every seam of bees (by ‘seam’ we mean the space between frames) will contain 2,500-3000 bees IF it’s full from the bottom bar to the top bar. Here my guess was that at most only three frames could have been fully covered (by counting four full ‘seams’). As a complete unit then, we have about 10,000 bees or less occupying four frames, with two frames of brood and limited pollen and nectar stores. While it appears to be perfectly healthy the limited food supply is a cause for concern, particularly when the foraging conditions are so poor and considering that most of the bees are likely to be quite old. What we have is a nuc. in a big box. In practice we had condensed the hive down to one box that could be defended, conserved heat, and improved sisterly love. The next thing to do was to supplement its food supply. Without going through all the possibilities the best solution for this hive was to start giving it some pollen supplement – a flat patty over the brood, and feed it sugar syrup in a contact feeder just above the nest. The bees will use these as they need to, but my guess is we have another month of tricky conditions, so we’ll just keep them always on hand. With only half the frames being used there would be plenty of room to grow and store food between now and the next visit. Before tea we had a look and chat about some varroa management equipment – a professional and a DIY vapouriser, and the famous ‘Crowley cup’ for monitoring mite levels (presented by the ‘inventor’). I considered checking mites on the hive we opened but decided against it. First, I think it was a mistake having too many things to focus on – better to look another time, specifically at mites. Second; with such a small amount of brood the mites were hardly going to expand their number much before a second visit. Third; with a high proportion of open brood, and with young bees so important at this time, in my opinion it's pretty silly to use oxalic and risk the open brood without good reason. There is a time and a place for everything. Now I wonder if @Judy K took any pictures?

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