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Jake Schultz

What is your greatest struggle in NZ beekeeping?

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I can give you three things I am "struggling " with at the moment (1) getting a decent income at this time , (2) Apinz wanting to slap a new levy on the industry, (3) MPI as they will most likely be the govt dept that will give Apinz the right to impose there new levy.

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This thread seems more like a psychology discussion. Tell your problem and we will listen. And? What changes will happen?

 

If you followed the string for the past one decade you will know what changes happened and in who's interest.

It is nothing new. Is happened and still happens in other industries all around the world.

 

@Alastairit is not a correct comparison regarding USA and NZ for selling honey at hobby level. They have other issues and their industry works different. The US commercial guys are more after pollination while honey is allowed to be imported so there is a need for the small guys too. Here the small guys are in the way of the big guys unless they join the big teams.

 

@Stoney I can see your point of view however things can be achieved if that is the intention. The way I see most of the things in NZ comes down to education. If there is something big to loose when you do things wrong then people will comply with every possible rule or legislation.

It is easier to shut the gate or make it very difficult to pass rather then offer affordable "tools" and educate/teach those who are interested. Online information will do it on the council website - including the outcomes if something goes wrong - and I am not talking about a slap on the hand.

 

@Philbee it will be interesting to see your system in every field. I just imagined young students who finished their NCEA at college starting to work as support workers while doing course after course and progress to caregiver and later to nurse. Let say after a total of 10 years working and studying they will be eligible to apply to enter into a university to become doctors. There will be no new doctor in NZ under the age of 40, however those who will make it, then they will be really good ones.

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<<honey is allowed to be imported so there is a need for the small guys too>>

 

How so?

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@AlastairThe regulations in America are very different from here. There is a flood of 'honey' from the Chinese market that is not actually honey and is legal to do in America. These broken down into three categories: 'honey' that is a direct conversion from sugar syrup and no nectar was used; a honey like product that is made using different syrups/sugars with added flavour packs and chemical changes to make it taste and consist like liquid honey; or a combination of both of these that is mixed with some real honey from different parts of the world. What comes down to is whatever is cheapest. It is this type of honey that floods the US market and not honey that is actually made in the US from honeybees as their focus is on pollination services throughout the year. That is why it is so important for the smalelr guys in America as they are really the only ones that produce real honey for the regional areas. 

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14 hours ago, tristan said:

i agree with that.

 

i suspect that this can be a bigger issue.

a manager from a big commercial company mentioned they had no beekeeper with more than 6 years experience. so all their beeks are effectively rookies.

 

you can train staff easy enough, but getting real world experience is a different thing altogether.

there is a huge amount of beekeepers out there that simply have not had to deal with a lot of the issues that beeks face.

companies and hobbyists are simply expanding faster than they can get experience beeks to run the hives. i suspect many crowds have helpers do the work under supervision which makes for poor beekeeping..

 

 

I think you nailed it. We have a flood of new beekeepers coming in that don't have the needed longer experience and many of them actually want it. But commercial sees this as a threat to their locations and business. And rightfully so. But we also need individuals who are educated to continue this work and it is very difficult for new beekeepers trying to learn from commercial. Hence why many of them take classes at bee clubs, just go work in the field, or take courses at a polytechnic.

 

But it really does come down to that the industry is growing faster than the country can keep up and manage. Resisting and fighting against these new beekeepers doesn't effectively lead to any positive changes and the traditional model is to change regulations and bylaws. 

 

So instead of thinking in this traditional route, what other ways do you see that could actually be beneficial? One of the most effective ways is to reeducate the general public on what the actual issues are so they are aware of it because the general public has no idea.

 

At the same time, with the current issues that were talked about as well as the as these other struggles you see, how can we develop a new or alternative way of tackling these issues? Overall, beekeeping has't really changed dramatically for 150 years since the langstroth hives came into play. Other industries have evolved significantly faster but we are stuck with business as usual. Using the problems that we see now, how do we use those to our advantage? Sure, we can say that we need less bees, but what other areas can we sort that out? New alternative systems to push and get people to invest more into planting? Putting a focus on plants first and use bees as the tool instead of a focus? These are just some ideas. I think the key thing is to really see where technology has taken us, us those to our advantage, and really think outside the square.

 

Thoughts?

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49 minutes ago, Jake Schultz said:

@AlastairThe regulations in America are very different from here. There is a flood of 'honey' from the Chinese market that is not actually honey and is legal to do in America. These broken down into three categories: 'honey' that is a direct conversion from sugar syrup and no nectar was used; a honey like product that is made using different syrups/sugars with added flavour packs and chemical changes to make it taste and consist like liquid honey; or a combination of both of these that is mixed with some real honey from different parts of the world. What comes down to is whatever is cheapest. It is this type of honey that floods the US market and not honey that is actually made in the US from honeybees as their focus is on pollination services throughout the year. That is why it is so important for the smalelr guys in America as they are really the only ones that produce real honey for the regional areas. 

 

In fact cheap imported honey is causing considerable pain for USA and Canadian beekeepers. Many of who DO produce a large amount of genuine USA and Canadian honey. I am personal friends with several US beekeepers who live on honey production and bee sales, and do no pollination at all.

 

None of that has anything to do with food hygeine regulations on small beekeepers, or create some reason why it works there but wouldn't work here.

 

Cheap imports in the US do not somehow create a "need" for small unregulated sellers.

 

The "small hobbyists can freely sell their honey" model works in the USA, and could just as easily work here. Cheap imports, pollination, or not, those things are a seperate issue.

 

You see, the honey that small hobbyists produce here IS being distributed and eaten. Decriminalising that will not change much / anything on the ground, or threaten any of the "big boys".

Edited by Alastair
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22 minutes ago, Jake Schultz said:

 

I think you nailed it. We have a flood of new beekeepers coming in that don't have the needed longer experience and many of them actually want it. But commercial sees this as a threat to their locations and business. And rightfully so. But we also need individuals who are educated to continue this work and it is very difficult for new beekeepers trying to learn from commercial. Hence why many of them take classes at bee clubs, just go work in the field, or take courses at a polytechnic.

 

But it really does come down to that the industry is growing faster than the country can keep up and manage. Resisting and fighting against these new beekeepers doesn't effectively lead to any positive changes and the traditional model is to change regulations and bylaws. 

 

So instead of thinking in this traditional route, what other ways do you see that could actually be beneficial? One of the most effective ways is to reeducate the general public on what the actual issues are so they are aware of it because the general public has no idea.

 

At the same time, with the current issues that were talked about as well as the as these other struggles you see, how can we develop a new or alternative way of tackling these issues? Overall, beekeeping has't really changed dramatically for 150 years since the langstroth hives came into play. Other industries have evolved significantly faster but we are stuck with business as usual. Using the problems that we see now, how do we use those to our advantage? Sure, we can say that we need less bees, but what other areas can we sort that out? New alternative systems to push and get people to invest more into planting? Putting a focus on plants first and use bees as the tool instead of a focus? These are just some ideas. I think the key thing is to really see where technology has taken us, us those to our advantage, and really think outside the square.

 

Thoughts?

Many industries have supported the return to more traditional apprenticeships to meet todays standards. In beekeeping, unless one strikes the right mentor/s, an online forum is the only option. There is no real agreed methods or industry standards, and there is an almost universal lack of understanding of contamination control between sites. If we had a small hive beetle incursion, the rate of spread would be catastrophic, also helped by the overcrowding.

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I'm enjoying this thread. 

 

I I think that the "save the bees" publicity would have to be one of the biggest challenges, other than those already mentioned above.

 

NZ is not short of bees, as we can see by the rapid increase in the number of hives in the last 10  years, trying to educate the general public otherwise,when they are bombarded by media  (mostly generated from overseas) is a real struggle. I agree @Jake Schultzthat putting the focus on planting for bees would be a much better way to "save the bees". However it's not as attractive to the media. (Case in point the recent publicity over bees in the red zone.)

 

Secondly, we have become an industry that shares little amongst its members because so much of what we do has become "commercially sensitive". Where our bees are, who we sell our honey to, how many hives we have, how much honey we make, where we get our honey extracted, the list goes on... Once apon a time before Manuka beekeepers worked together, had good long standing relationships with colleagues and landowners, now there's always someone waiting to offer to pay more. Cheque book beekeeping.

 

Thirdly, the divide between hobby and commercial beekeepers creates unwanted smoke screens. There needs to be more responsibility placed on those who sell hives, and those that buy them, with no idea of what they are getting into, to ensure that they are gonna be healthy in their new homes. This forum has probably been more beneficial than anything to "save the bees" @Grant

 

This is a real shame because beekeepers on the whole are awesome folks who just love bees.

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Totally agree Bron, I am so over trying to help some happless newbee who has paid far too much for absolute rubbish nucs. We all used to provide nucs to one or two in the season, and help mentor them through the learning curve, but now it's firefighting after someone has made a killing. Here, many of us work in with both hobby and commercials to benefit everyone, but there are many who are still a law unto themselves.

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@Sailabee, nah, they aren't a law unto themselves, they are greedy grabby, jump on the bandwagon and make a killing, beehavers. They do our industry irreparable harm. 

 

Only slightly less scary than conversations with strangers that end with, "I had bees, but they died, I'm gonna get a nuc/swarm next season." 

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Hi Jake,  do you do online courses? If so at what cost to a student and what are the courses?

As a beginner bee keeper I have been fortunate to have two bee keepers from a club I call to support me. What I have had most need of is someone who can be at hive side to alert me or reassure me about what's going on. I can take photos and send them to one of the bee keepers which is helpful but not quite the same. 

I would also concur with a simple check list to sell honey. 

I'd like to know about how recent technological advances in polystyrene hives, apps, and other new technologies are helpful in supporting bee health and raising honey production. 

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Hi Jake, I have planted trees for bees principally Tagaste on farms and road cuttings over the last thirty odd years and have changed the nature of some of my sites in the process as regards improving bee forage. I would be interested to know how many beeks actualy get out and plant trees for bees? Its pays off.

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On 23/05/2018 at 8:01 PM, Stoney said:

Maybe our Jake has cracked a few thousand lids During some hard slog commercial years... how will we know if you scare him off showing your sharp teeth like that.. 

welcome Jake. 

 

If he was to scare that easily it's unlikely hes cracked many lids

Edited by Philbee
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My biggest struggle ..... every year ..... who the heck is gonna buy my honey. My next biggest struggle ..... where can I find some quality labour ...... and my next struggle , whose gonna give me a good price for my hives when I wake up one morning and say " Stuff it , the equipment suppliers, the labourers, the tradie's  and the landowners are all making a dollar off my back which dont leave a lot in the pie for my pub tab, so I'd be better to go and work for a regular wage.

The beekeeping is easy.  Young queens and plenty of feed.

Edited by jamesc
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If you harvest more honey than you can sell you're obviously working harder than you need to I would have thought

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1 minute ago, yesbut said:

If you harvest more honey than you can sell you're obviously working harder than you need to I would have thought

Not necessarily , it can mean that the bees were very busy on an unexpectedly big flow .

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32 minutes ago, yesbut said:

If you harvest more honey than you can sell you're obviously working harder than you need to I would have thought

Specially for a down scaled hobbyist.  lol

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its the OLD beekeeper - and I'm not pointing fingers here.  But Its impossible for us newbies to compete against the old beekeepers with their memories of hives that reached the sky, a time when man and beast (or perhaps horse and cart…) battled the elements to produce the finest honey the senses could savour, when varroa was not a mite but the result of some sexual mis-discretion, when you could see the smoke rising in a far away valley and know that was Jimmy “8 boxes” Smith on his site from just outside the 3km exclusion zone, oh those were the days of real beekeepers and not the days of us Flash Harry's, Johnny come lately's, Whipper snappers, and Queen St beekeepers.  Oh for the good old days, 15p for a pound of honey and six o’clock closing...

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My biggest struggle is beekeepers who move in beside you because they are too lazy or do not have the ethics to find a site for themselves.,so that means that both beekeepers get a little bit of the pie.the other struggle I have is the organic certification people allowing their members to use acids to control varroa.The other struggle I have is when the people who market the honey cannot think out side the box.Twice now I have developed a product only to find someone copy me,surely some of these guys can use their brains.

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13 hours ago, yesbut said:

If you harvest more honey than you can sell you're obviously working harder than you need to I would have thought

No doubt about that.   So, this years plan ..... if the Tarot cards tell me that next year the price of honey is gonna drop more, I'm buying a new pair of boots and heading for the mountains.  But then the cards might be wrong and it rains all summer and the price of honey goes through the roof. What then Kimosabe ?

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Move to the NI and grow avocados. 

They are $5 each here in the supermarket and often when you open them they are brown and yuk .

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17 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Move to the NI and grow avocados. 

They are $5 each here in the supermarket and often when you open them they are brown and yuk .

I bet  the grower that sweats and stresses producing them doesn't get $5 each 

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I have a friend who grows avo's ..... he got home one day and found someone had beaten him to the harvest !

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16 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Move to the NI and grow avocados. 

They are $5 each here in the supermarket and often when you open them they are brown and yuk .

You should move up here Frazz.  I have hives permanently sited in organic avocado orchards and am always picking up the windfalls and chucking them on the passengers side floor of the truck - have a terrible habit of forgetting about them though!!

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On 26/05/2018 at 7:38 AM, jamesc said:

the price of honey goes through the roof. What then Kimosabe ?

Easy, you flog all your honey off, along with half your hives, and carry on....

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