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Jake Schultz

What is your greatest struggle in NZ beekeeping?

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7 minutes ago, yesbut said:

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

The perfect solution.

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On 25/05/2018 at 12:40 PM, Ladybee said:

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. 

Hi @Ladybee No, I don't do a pure online course. The only course I lecture is blended delivery (Practical, lecture, and online) for the New Zealand certificate in Apiculture Level 3.

 

There are definitely difficulties when it comes to these sorts of courses as being in the hives with an apprenticeship model is by far one of the best methods to teach. As well as being able to consistently see all the variations of the hive in various settings and states.

When you look at online courses, we have to keep in mind what the target audience is. It is not for individuals going into commercial but focuses on new beekeepers or individuals wanting to grow in their understanding of it. It's to initially help individuals start off and become aware of everything with beekeeping. But the huge limitations is the practical side. And that's where assessments come into trouble for an online course with a field that is highly variable. Almost all of the online courses around the world do not, in the end, actually give you a qualification from an accredited organization. New Zealand does not currently have any pure online course or qualification. 

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On 23/05/2018 at 9:44 AM, Janice said:

As a hobbyist, not being legally allowed to sell small quantities of honey unless you have jumped through many many hoops, some of which may be  invisible and some which change depending where you live. How I would love to have a simple standard checklist for home producers extracting and selling honey at the farm gate.

 

You are lucky to have rules .. here in the UK bee keeping is a shambles .. no one here even has to register (appart from in the Channel Islands) you just go to the shop, buy some bees, a hive and a book and off you go....we are half way through the swarm season and the devestation reaked upon us by pesticides means this year i have not had a single call out for a swarm having lost 10 of our 16 hives since last November, 3 years ago we had 23 call outs.

We tried running a seminar to highlight the problems to which farmers, pest control companies and researchers attended but the local South Chilterns BKA refused to send details to their members because of "data protection" .. so we had hardly any bee keepers.   Thats what you end up with when an industry is run by unregulated amateur volunteers. 

 

Sorry for the rant but i wish i had your problem.

 

Check out www.bee.watch to see what we are trying to do about it.

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Welcome to the forum @Norm. Sounds like beekeeping is different over there.

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Hi Bron, thanks.  Bee keeping is probabaly the same, but England is the 5th most densly populated country in the world so we have a totally different set of conditions including a lack of land to work with.  Around us 80% of the land within 5k of our apiary is continually sprayed (golf course and arable) while i remember from several visits to NZ (Nelson mostly) that livestock is more prevelant.   Beekeepers should be monitoring colony losses and swarm harvesting geographically to see if higher density arable is affecting bee populations.  Its almost too late where we are as there are no swarms so far this year to monitor.

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Would like to know more about how you determined the deaths were caused by chemicals. IE, what sort of bee killing chemicals did they use on the golf course or was it just hebicides, what were the symptoms, what other factors such as mite treatments were invoved, etc.

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I agree with Alistair on this.

My initial thoughts were that if it is as bad as you describe across the board then there are likely to be very few Bees in the UK going forward

If this is the case then either the UK is in deep trouble or Bees as Pollinators are not a critical link in your food chain.

 

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1 hour ago, Alastair said:

Would like to know more about how you determined the deaths were caused by chemicals. IE, what sort of bee killing chemicals did they use on the golf course or was it just hebicides, what were the symptoms, what other factors such as mite treatments were invoved, etc.

The migrant beeks in my area move their bees out of the horticultural areas into the wilderness and hope for a honey flow.

But they would move them out anyway to be away from the sprays.

If there were no wilderness areas like in England it would be tricky .

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Nothing is worse than a poster who does not reply .. hands up that me!!.    However better late than never.   .. to answer your questions I will start by giving you the background.  Next post a bit more detail but check out the research on the web site.

 

At this moment in time all the evidence linking pesticides and peripheral colony losses ( from legal chemicals)  was circumstantial.  See attached photo

Worst months for colony losses April/November (UK) coincide with peak months for pesticide use (DEFRA statistics).

No Summer colony losses this year for the first time for years possibly because of the very hot weather the farmers did not spray.

The problem in the UK is the pesticide industry has fingers in every pie.  In 2006 the hapless Tony Blair set up a thing called the Voluntary Initiative (VI .. vested interests?) where the use of pesticides would be rigorously controlled by the industry. “Pesticides of Mass Destruction?”  Predictably it is 100% run by the pesticide industry and what they don’t want is any link between cause and effect.

If pesticide users, Golf Courses, farmers, hotels, local government etc notified of any spraying then an illness of a bystander or loss of bees by a bee keeper could link the cause and the effect.

The VI have a “system” called Bee Connected (https://beeconnected.org.uk/) which is supposed to warn bee keepers of pending spraying.  We have had 1 notification in the past 14 months and 3 in 3 years yet 80% of the land within 5k of us gets sprayed.  It only deals with pesticides! 7% of what is sprayed, while some herbicides and fungicides are detrimental to bees and who knows about cocktails?  After 3 years out there, it is not used by hardly anyone and does not even have an app.  Needless to say, its funded by the pesticide industry, and unbelievably …  its voluntary!!  You could sign up today as Donald Trump, put in a spurious e-mail and post spray alerts in the UK, and no one would know who you are!  try it.

However the problem that is coming to light now is something NZ should be aware of.  That picture of the 10m high spray drift was delivering a chemical Pacifica, a herbicide which has other effects such as its a neurotoxin, i.e. brain 2142642283_spraydrift.thumb.jpg.d6a3fd044aba3e2c79a578e848079c6e.jpgpoison to mamals, the 80-acre field is surrounded on 3 sides with residential property and just out of shot to the right is a day creche.

In the UK people who are unknowingly subject to the effects of spraying are known as Bystanders and the problem all comes back to the density of population.  Empowering the people to demand that everyone is notified of spraying is the way to go so we are developing a system to do exactly that.  www.bee.watch

I envy you guys, learn from the UK on how not to manage pesticides, Blair should have taxed their use (Denmark) and invested that money in University research.  What we have now is research funded by the industry getting the results they want, and the Universities take the funds because there is not enough coming from Government. 

From November last year to April this year we lost 10 of our 16 colonies, we are backup to 14, but honey production will be down 70% to 110 kg.

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1 hour ago, Norm said:

Nothing is worse than a poster who does not reply .. hands up that me!!.    However better late than never.   .. to answer your questions I will start by giving you the background.  Next post a bit more detail but check out the research on the web site.

 

At this moment in time all the evidence linking pesticides and peripheral colony losses ( from legal chemicals)  was circumstantial.  See attached photo

 

Worst months for colony losses April/November (UK) coincide with peak months for pesticide use (DEFRA statistics).

 

No Summer colony losses this year for the first time for years possibly because of the very hot weather the farmers did not spray.

 

The problem in the UK is the pesticide industry has fingers in every pie.  In 2006 the hapless Tony Blair set up a thing called the Voluntary Initiative (VI .. vested interests?) where the use of pesticides would be rigorously controlled by the industry. “Pesticides of Mass Destruction?”  Predictably it is 100% run by the pesticide industry and what they don’t want is any link between cause and effect.

 

If pesticide users, Golf Courses, farmers, hotels, local government etc notified of any spraying then an illness of a bystander or loss of bees by a bee keeper could link the cause and the effect.

 

The VI have a “system” called Bee Connected (https://beeconnected.org.uk/) which is supposed to warn bee keepers of pending spraying.  We have had 1 notification in the past 14 months and 3 in 3 years yet 80% of the land within 5k of us gets sprayed.  It only deals with pesticides! 7% of what is sprayed, while some herbicides and fungicides are detrimental to bees and who knows about cocktails?  After 3 years out there, it is not used by hardly anyone and does not even have an app.  Needless to say, its funded by the pesticide industry, and unbelievably …  its voluntary!!  You could sign up today as Donald Trump, put in a spurious e-mail and post spray alerts in the UK, and no one would know who you are!  try it.

 

However the problem that is coming to light now is something NZ should be aware of.  That picture of the 10m high spray drift was delivering a chemical Pacifica, a herbicide which has other effects such as its a neurotoxin, i.e. brain 2142642283_spraydrift.thumb.jpg.d6a3fd044aba3e2c79a578e848079c6e.jpgpoison to mamals, the 80-acre field is surrounded on 3 sides with residential property and just out of shot to the right is a day creche.

 

In the UK people who are unknowingly subject to the effects of spraying are known as Bystanders and the problem all comes back to the density of population.  Empowering the people to demand that everyone is notified of spraying is the way to go so we are developing a system to do exactly that.  www.bee.watch

 

I envy you guys, learn from the UK on how not to manage pesticides, Blair should have taxed their use (Denmark) and invested that money in University research.  What we have now is research funded by the industry getting the results they want, and the Universities take the funds because there is not enough coming from Government. 

From November last year to April this year we lost 10 of our 16 colonies, we are backup to 14, but honey production will be down 70% to 110 kg.

 

Would you eat the Honey?

 

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This has the potential to become a very real problem for myself and I would imagine many hobbiest beekeepers in my area of the country. 

I have a small number of hives, about 30 in total spread around Tauranga, l keep bees because like most of you I enjoy it, I care about the plight of the honey bee and from this is quickly growing into a small commercial operation breeding Qeens. The "Two Hive" limit being suggested would spell the end of my operation as it exists today. To date I have only had positive feedback from my neighbors who eagerly await their honey in the season. 

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1 hour ago, 2Bee said:

Good luck with the above .

These rules  changes are often drive by the energy of 2 or 3 people with a barrow to push .

What sort of queens do you favour , Italian or carniolan .

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48 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

Good luck with the above .

These rules  changes are often drive by the energy of 2 or 3 people with a barrow to push .

What sort of queens do you favour , Italian or carniolan .

Yes, watch that space I guess. 

I do like the Italians as the slightest hint of a decent feed and sunshine and they're off, very optimistic little bees. If you run a small operation such as mine it's easy to work with and take advantage of.

The Carniolans on the other hand are slow to start but prolific once up and running, they seem to be very resilient and organised, you always know where you stand with them.

I like both of course, but IMO for outright horsepower the Italians are the way to go.

If you like a little bit of finesse, the Carnis win hands down.

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3 hours ago, 2Bee said:

Yes, watch that space I guess. 

I do like the Italians as the slightest hint of a decent feed and sunshine and they're off, very optimistic little bees. If you run a small operation such as mine it's easy to work with and take advantage of.

The Carniolans on the other hand are slow to start but prolific once up and running, they seem to be very resilient and organised, you always know where you stand with them.

I like both of course, but IMO for outright horsepower the Italians are the way to go.

If you like a little bit of finesse, the Carnis win hands down.

The carniolan were a swarm fest nightmare for me .

I have gone as yellow as I can .

I have never heard any sort of Italian called resilient and organised .

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5 hours ago, 2Bee said:

This has the potential to become a very real problem for myself and I would imagine many hobbiest beekeepers in my area of the country. 

I have a small number of hives, about 30 in total spread around Tauranga, l keep bees because like most of you I enjoy it, I care about the plight of the honey bee and from this is quickly growing into a small commercial operation breeding Qeens. The "Two Hive" limit being suggested would spell the end of my operation as it exists today. To date I have only had positive feedback from my neighbors who eagerly await their honey in the season. 

Be thankful you get to keep 2 hives, a few years ago they were talking about no hives in city boundary, i went to zespri  and avo industry as many small orchards in city boundary, so us and the local BOP hobby club convinced them to keep it to a few hives 2-3.

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6 hours ago, 2Bee said:

I have a small number of hives, about 30 in total spread around Tauranga,

how do you deal with the honey? sell it? what's your extraction and packaging approach? which way are you voting in the levy stakes?

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23 minutes ago, tommy dave said:

how do you deal with the honey? sell it? what's your extraction and packaging approach? which way are you voting in the levy stakes?

He votes how I say
I get 2 votes :3_grin:

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Just now, Philbee said:

He votes how I say
I get 2 votes :3_grin:

Lolololol.

I don't see a problem with a modest levy as long as there is value in it for the industry. 

Most honey to date has been left for the bees with a small amount extracted in a friend's kitchen.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Philbee said:

He votes how I say
I get 2 votes :3_grin:

Are You big brother .:14_relaxed:

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8 hours ago, kaihoka said:

Are You big brother .:14_relaxed:

yes

 

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My greatest struggle now is just trying to become a competent Beekeeper.

My guess is that even before Varroa there was still a substantial range of Beekeeper competence, then along came Varroa and either made things worse for the stragglers or possibly even dragged everyone down to a lower level.
My guess is that the Viruses were around back then also and some Beekeeping outfits probably had more of these than others.

My Varroa have gone now and this will make my job a lot easier but I doubt it will make me an overnight Beekeeping Master.
I remember back to when Dave Black floated the idea of creating a logic flow chart for diagnosing Hive death  causes.
I still get a few dead Hives but they are for the most part very similar

The most common types are a very clean Hive with a very little un emerged Brood and a clump of dead clustered bees (Starved)

Drone Layer Hives, and a few Hives that are completely empty of Bees, Brood, Honey and very clean (Robbed out)

What is notable is the lack of wax moth, The OA nails them.

Yesterday I also found a picture perfect little Hive with a perfect little patch of brood from larvae to capped but the Hive (Nuc) was empty.

Having said this, I am describing a very small percentage of Hives and my winter loses are very very low, even the Hive with the Bullet hole through it is doing fine
But back to Dave's logic flow chart, in my view it is now possible to design such a chart because the muddy waters have cleared and will continue to do so for many Beeks going forward.
One Hive death I have not seen and probably will not see again is a PMS death.

 

 

 

 


 

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Within beekeeping in New Zealand, what are one or two things you personally struggling with the most in beekeeping?

 

mainly the big lifts of full boxes of manuka honey and trying to figure what to do with all the money :(

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My beek friend  was a commercial beek in the  late 60s and 70s. A propolis allergy forced him to quit .

He came back into bee keeping shortly before varroa arrived in our area.

I think he has struggled to get his head around  varroa . His preoccupation has always been with AFB.

But in an understocked area like ours AFB is not such an issue. As long as the migrant beeks are onto it . And in our case they are  40 yr old operations and know what they are doing.

I came into bee keeping after varroa so it has been easier for me to come to terms with it.

I am still using synthetics , they are still very effective for me , luckily.

They hives that came through the winter with very little varroa were the 3 that had a brood break because of non laying queens.

I vaporized all my hive once during the winter.

But the hive where the queen  layed all winter had big varroa drops after the strips went in recently.

I think varroa must be a bigger problem in  a  NZ temperate climate than in more continental ones with a decent winter and proper brood break .

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30 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

My beek friend  was a commercial beek in the  late 60s and 70s. A propolis allergy forced him to quit .

He came back into bee keeping shortly before varroa arrived in our area.

I think he has struggled to get his head around  varroa . His preoccupation has always been with AFB.

But in an understocked area like ours AFB is not such an issue. As long as the migrant beeks are onto it . And in our case they are  40 yr old operations and know what they are doing.

I came into bee keeping after varroa so it has been easier for me to come to terms with it.

I am still using synthetics , they are still very effective for me , luckily.

They hives that came through the winter with very little varroa were the 3 that had a brood break because of non laying queens.

I vaporized all my hive once during the winter.

But the hive where the queen  layed all winter had big varroa drops after the strips went in recently.

I think varroa must be a bigger problem in  a  NZ temperate climate than in more continental ones with a decent winter and proper brood break .

Up at 600m where I am the issue is that not every winter is a Brood breaker and the genetic variations between Hives adds to the overall challenges of managing Varroa by way of Brood Break.

 

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