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Trevor Gillbanks

December 2017 Beekeeping Diary

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December here already.  

I am hoping for a great season this year.  Hives are in the best condition for years.

 

 

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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One of our 'farmers' took us out fishing this morning. Snapper for dinner, great day for fishing. Too damn hot all the sudden. Sure beats putting a suit on today. Met another one of our farmers on the ramp going in! Might be cider o'clock soon!:IMG_0380:

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resisted the urge to open up the walkaway splits - it's been great weather and a week since queen hatching time, looking forward to opening it up in another week and seeing what's going on

the parent hive is cranking, queen is looking good, added another box. Debating pulling another few splits from it next weekend. .

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All my grafted QCs emerged and I spotted the virgins.

February queens still laying well.

Nectar comes in and on top of that pohutukawa just started.

The waxmelter is loaded with combs - tomorrow is melting time.

The weather is perfect for beach.

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So hot yesterday way to hot for this wookey shifted more hive before the sun poked it's head over the burnt land checked on the mating nucs need to get busy moving queens on to nucs or super them up. Then spent the rest of the day throwing supers on hives that are not in death valley. Hopefully today is not so hot bees been out since about 530. Lucky to have a Manuka site this year looking good on that front. Hill country is still greenish. Found out last week a farmer I have bees has planted all his old and mixed up clover in his house paddock because he likes our bees and giving his grandkids his honey could of hugged the old ###### but we don't do that sort of thing down here ?looks good as a mix white ,red and a pink clover. hives where getting very light now had to put lots more supers on sweet.

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The problem over wintered hive that superseded poorly, looks like it fixed now with s nice cell from a strong hive and a frame of brood. New season nuc failure, no queen, five plus weeks, moved it last night back in close to work on her today. Set up a new frame in a donor hive a week ago prepping for a failure, glad I did. Gave the self housed swarm a new house, ie two 10 frame boxes and new frames. They are going so well. Brood piture, is new season nuc all small cell, honey, new season foundation less, two box is of new boxes for self homed swarm.

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I have had this 1/2 depth box in the shed for maybe 4 years and never used it. Has it been that long since I made them @m4tt? Today I added some wax starter strips to the frames and placed  the box on as the first super for this colony. They have been busy as they are also starting and finishing queen cells with the aid of a Cloake Board.
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Then I checked this swarm on the leftI collected a couple of weeks ago. They got their first honey super todayThe are the tidiest most orderly bees I have ever had. The comb is very orderly draw, the bees are very calm on the frame, when the hive mat is lifted all the bees are lined up along the top bar looking right back at you. The queen has a very nice laying pattern as well. One to watch for future stock I think.

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33deg here today the manuka and kanuka is thumping in , even my site on dew has found the kanuka with an obvious colour change in the comb, cut all the dew off them and added wets. 

Shifting 20 grunty singles into a Manuka site tonight with 3 strong backed weak brained mates these are all dbl brooders,  now with 3 wet/part drawn supers each all full of bees.. there are some feral bee beards on them... going to be some carnage getting them to site. 

 

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6 hours ago, Stoney said:

33deg here today the manuka and kanuka is thumping in , even my site on dew has found the kanuka with an obvious colour change in the comb, cut all the dew off them and added wets. 

Shifting 20 grunty singles into a Manuka site tonight with 3 strong backed weak brained mates these are all dbl brooders,  now with 3 wet/part drawn supers each all full of bees.. there are some feral bee beards on them... going to be some carnage getting them to site. 

 

 How did you go about cutting the honey dew off your hives midway through a flow @Stoney? Interested as im thinking of giving it ago this season, previously iv only relied on bee escapes.

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Jaspur I just shake and brush the bees off my full frames leaving the drawn unfilled and partly drawn in and added extracted wet frames in their place. 

I have always checkerboarded my honey frames which means they are never all filled the same which gives me this option. 

 

Had an interesting night shifting.. my beef farmer mate and my boss and his missus humped these things onto the trailer under the full moon, bees were bearded before they even were picked up, I'm seriously considering running my personal hives on vented quad floors same as the work stuff as it makes shifting so easy.

anyway.. 

beef farmer cops 5-6 stings at the drop off point spot X, two minutes later starts feeling itchy oh oh here we go..

no pills in the ute so it's a race out to the main rd to meet my good woman with the magic potion, his face all swollen up and he needs to stop to empty his lunch out both ends as she pulls up, moaning and groaning his chest tight but breathing ok..

she  pops 3 down him and after a couple minutes he's back on form cracking jokes.

epi pen was on hand but no pills. 

Hes been there to help me shift the odd single over the last few years but I'd say I'll struggle to twist his arm on another back country adventure involving bees. 

On the positive... the scrub is heavy in flower and the colonies are strong so fingers crossed he sees the bright side as I fill his fridge with his favourite drop

 

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The Midnight Express has been doing overtime running bees to the Coast with the Most. All fire extinguishers in vehicles have been been re certified and we  have an extra bucket of water on the trucks .... just in case.

Nectar is pouring in out in Death Valley , but where the heck from? And  the hills here on the farm are having the best Manuka flowering for several years.

Last week we cell checked one of our crappiest yards in the spring that had heaps of duds. We had'nt been there for a month. What a turn around ..... almost 99% mating and boxes of bees. It never ceases to amaze me what the critters can do when all the planets are aligned.

Edited by jamesc
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14 hours ago, Stoney said:

33deg here today the manuka and kanuka is thumping in , even my site on dew has found the kanuka with an obvious colour change in the comb, cut all the dew off them and added wets. 

Shifting 20 grunty singles into a Manuka site tonight with 3 strong backed weak brained mates these are all dbl brooders,  now with 3 wet/part drawn supers each all full of bees.. there are some feral bee beards on them... going to be some carnage getting them to site. 

 

What are worksafe regs for working in the heat of the day ..... Mad Dogs and Englishmen ?

Edited by jamesc
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52 minutes ago, jamesc said:

What are worksafe regs for working in the heat of the day ..... Mad Dogs and Englishmen ?

Mad Dogs  Englishmen  and Beekeepers,  checking hives yesterday my wife was complaining about how much she was perspiring, and it's not easy now she's decided to have go at working the bees and I've had to stand back and be quiet ... for five minutes :)

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This season has turned the corner.

 

Two weeks ago this colony was starving. Two FD chocka with bees but subsisting on a trickle of nectar. They got a feeder and a couple liters of syrup. Look at them now! 

20171204_131345-768x1365.thumb.jpg.dfc20a62fbb813199a9da2a49d5063b9.jpg

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7 hours ago, jamesc said:

What are worksafe regs for working in the heat of the day ..... Mad Dogs and Englishmen ?

Not sure but years ago working in the sawmill we were told 35 was shut down.... 

however the mill thermometer was screwed to the south side block Work and never quiet made it to 35. 

Today we are supering clover sites, nice crystal clear honey , getting it done veilless would love the suit off but would breach our H&S code. 

Worksafe regs don’t state a max temp, just looked it up. 

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1 hour ago, Stoney said:

but would breach our H&S code. 

Horrors

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You haven’t seen my breach 

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5 hours ago, Rob Stockley said:

This season has turned the corner.

 

Two weeks ago this colony was starving. Two FD chocka with bees but subsisting on a trickle of nectar. They got a feeder and a couple liters of syrup. Look at them now! 

20171204_131345-768x1365.thumb.jpg.dfc20a62fbb813199a9da2a49d5063b9.jpg

 

Wow wee! Great story.

 

Do you now have to scrape all of that off? I have what I call a wax building colony at the moment and they are always building comb absolutely everywhere. Between inspections they totally glue all the boxes together. All the honey frames have burr comb between and the lid is ALWAYS completely stuck down. Takes me ages to scrape it all off trying not to squish too many bees just so I don't squish heaps of bees putting the boxes back together... great producers, but sooooooo time consuming!

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14 hours ago, CHCHPaul said:

Wow wee! Great story.

 

Do you now have to scrape all of that off?

I tipped the box and scraped it all off (top and bottom) into the feeder. Pulled one frame and spaced the remaining nine. Added a box of eight drawn plus the one removed. Feeder on (it'll come off next time). Lid on. Happy bees.

Edited by Rob Stockley
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The only sensible option is to scrape all that into their top feeder as Rob said .

Next visit there will just be cleaned wax left in the feeder 

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6 hours ago, Stoney said:

Not sure but years ago working in the sawmill we were told 35 was shut down.... 

however the mill thermometer was screwed to the south side block Work and never quiet made it to 35. 

Today we are supering clover sites, nice crystal clear honey , getting it done veilless would love the suit off but would breach our H&S code. 

Worksafe regs don’t state a max temp, just looked it up. 

Uh Huh ..... today we broke out the bandannas and now look like a team of Badass Boys .....   And it was too hot for mother in the office. She retired to the creek with a rum. 

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Just now, jamesc said:

Uh Huh ..... today we broke out the bandannas and now look like a team of Badass Boys .....   And it was too hot for mother in the office. She retired to the creek with a rum. 

Good for the hay though ?

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21 hours ago, Rob Stockley said:

This season has turned the corner.

 

Two weeks ago this colony was starving. Two FD chocka with bees but subsisting on a trickle of nectar. They got a feeder and a couple liters of syrup. Look at them now! 

20171204_131345-768x1365.thumb.jpg.dfc20a62fbb813199a9da2a49d5063b9.jpg

Im a bit worried that all of my hives will look like this too, and they all got new undrawn boxes 3 weeks ago, hopefully check them this week if it cools down enough tomorrow night... its just too hot at 30 degrees all day and half the night.

tis crazy weather here at the moment

and the farmer posted a pic of the crop outside... not far from me. Persian clover, tall and pink flowered, interesting, I wonder if the bees like it

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6 hours ago, Rashika said:

Im a bit worried that all of my hives will look like this too, and they all got new undrawn boxes 3 weeks ago, hopefully check them this week if it cools down enough tomorrow night... its just too hot at 30 degrees all day and half the night.

tis crazy weather here at the moment

and the farmer posted a pic of the crop outside... not far from me. Persian clover, tall and pink flowered, interesting, I wonder if the bees like it

Persian clover is primo ..... the motherload of clovers ..... the bees knees ..... I only wish more cockies would plant it.

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Was out and about at the crack of dawn today for the first harvest of the year - twenty boxes of Pohutukawa Honey.   Running short on boxes and frames so good motivation to get it done with wets to go on again in a few days.

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