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As a newbie in Auckland I was wondering why we stop inspecting hives and harvesting honey in winter?  I understand that further south in NZ and other places around the world there are real winters;  But a mild Auckland winter could be the same as some summer days  in Invercargill (sorry Invercargillites). The bees here are out and about most mild days. It hasn't been that cold. to date. Is anyone in Auckland doing so??

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4 minutes ago, BrentG said:

As a newbie in Auckland I was wondering why we stop inspecting hives and harvesting honey in winter?  I understand that further south in NZ and other places around the world there are real winters;  But a mild Auckland winter could be the same as some summer days  in Invercargill (sorry Invercargillites). The bees here are out and about most mild days. It hasn't been that cold. to date. Is anyone in Auckland doing so??

@Alastair will be in a better position to answer but even Auckland climate cools enough to induce dormancy in the major nectar source plants. 

Manuka, Kanuka, Clover, Rewa Rewa, Pohutukawa etc are all seasonal.

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Thanks Dansar, The bees here are bringing in pollen and nectar most days

 

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The reason for not inspecting is because there is very little you as the bk can do in Winter - and there is downside - inspections can chill and stress the bees and if no reason for inspecting don't do it.  Auckland is ok through from a weather perspective ie it is not too cold to be opening them up whereas down South not a good idea.

 

They generally bring in enough nectar to get by on, particularly in the urban areas, but not enough to increase honey supplies.  In rural areas you need to be watching honey stores closely.  I just started feeding all rural hives approx 2kg raw sugar so they have an extra reserve, starvation through Spring does happen. 

 

All going well hives should start bringing in truckloads of pollen, its needed as a source of protein to grow bee numbers, again have just started feeding pollen patties to rural hives.

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Is your gorse still flowering up there.

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1 hour ago, Bighands said:

Is your gorse still flowering up there.

Gorse flowering in the Horowhenua three weeks ago.

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It makes life easy for the bees and hobby bee keepers to let the seasonal cycle call the tune.

And here near Dunedin it was 14 degrees today, and the bees doing what they do - out when they like it, any stay inside and drink tea when it is too cold.

Leaving a lot of honey in autumn removes the need to feed hives, and they come through winter strongly, and there is no need for pollen as the bees and seasons make sure supplies are aligned.

 

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8 hours ago, Jean MacDonald said:

Gorse flowering in the Horowhenua three weeks ago.

Gorse has been flowering all winter and is still flowering down on the west coast

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i took honey off a dunedin hive at the weekend. They were bringing in and storing fresh nectar and had enough honey on for the spring even after i'd robbed them. No real reason to do winter honey pulls though

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2 hours ago, Bighands said:

Gorse has been flowering all winter and is still flowering down on the west coast

When is gorse not flowering on the west coast .:6_smile:

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1 hour ago, tommy dave said:

i took honey off a dunedin hive at the weekend. They were bringing in and storing fresh nectar and had enough honey on for the spring even after i'd robbed them. No real reason to do winter honey pulls though

What did it taste like .

What was flowering then .

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Kanuka and manuka is in full flower around the parks in Auckland (no bees on them in New Lynn Park but full bloom) . A few stray bees around the hebe , also in flower under the kanuka shrubs.

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23 hours ago, BrentG said:

As a newbie in Auckland I was wondering why we stop inspecting hives and harvesting honey in winter? 

the single biggest problem is what happens when you accidentally kill the queen?

typically theres no big honey flow in winter to warrant taking honey boxes off.

any opening of the hives breaks the hives seal and then you get water blown in all the gaps. opening hives up doesn't gain anything and tends to make things worse.

 

anything you can do, you should have already done. you set the hive up for winter and then leave it alone until spring.

 

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11 hours ago, kaihoka said:

What did it taste like .

What was flowering then .

the honey i extracted had been laid down earlier. Caramel taste.

my guess on what's coming in = largely prostrate rosemary but i didn't do an investigation walk to confirm

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22 hours ago, tommy dave said:

the honey i extracted had been laid down earlier. 

 

Seasoned with Bayvarol? How is this avoided? 

 

Ive been doing a cheap version of Trevor’s weight test (Ali express luggage scale) and hive weights are changing quite quickly at the moment when compared to a month or 2 ago. If it rains the weight falls fast, if it’s sunny it grows quite fast. 3kgs up per week for the last 2. I assume that this would include brood and pollen, so it might be a misleading measure.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cBank said:

 

Seasoned with Bayvarol? How is this avoided? 

 

Ive been doing a cheap version of Trevor’s weight test (Ali express luggage scale) and hive weights are changing quite quickly at the moment when compared to a month or 2 ago. If it rains the weight falls fast, if it’s sunny it grows quite fast. 3kgs up per week for the last 2. I assume that this would include brood and pollen, so it might be a misleading measure.

 

 

the stuff i pulled had already been capped when autumn treatments went in. Might be a bit of seasoning but all good

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3 hours ago, cBank said:

 

Seasoned with Bayvarol? How is this avoided? 

 

Ive been doing a cheap version of Trevor’s weight test (Ali express luggage scale) and hive weights are changing quite quickly at the moment when compared to a month or 2 ago. If it rains the weight falls fast, if it’s sunny it grows quite fast. 3kgs up per week for the last 2. I assume that this would include brood and pollen, so it might be a misleading measure.

 

 

Yes that is very good observation and can catch a lot of new (and long time) Beekeepers out. Food stores are being replaced by brood and in most cases the increasing brood area weighs the same or more. 

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so I should be feeding a bit more?..two deep single hive with top feeder

 

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I think we need to look.

I hope tomorrow is as nice as today. I spent most of today inside doing the course and the DECA. Fingers crossed.

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