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john berry

Manuka misconceptions

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I had a discussion today with a gentleman about manuka honey and bees and I am just over the misconceptions, myths  and miracles.
Did you know that manuka nectar is to bitter for bees to like.
Did you know that you have to move hives in and out of the manuka to get a crop.
Did you know bees would rather work anything else other than manuka.
Did I know how profitable it was planting manuka plantations.

Well after 50 years I do know that bees like manuka nectar and if it is available they will work it in preference to almost anything else if it is yielding.
I know that it can be too wet or too dry for the nectar to yield properly and that native bees can take 100% of the nectar leaving nothing for the bees but that does not mean that not mean they are not interested in working it.
I also know that permanent sites where there is suitable spring and autumn forage for the bees can and do produce as good as or better crops than hives that are shifted.
I don't know whether anyone will make money from manuka plantations but if you have an area that has produced one manuka crop in 10 years with superabundant natural manuka everywhere it's pretty doubtful whether a plantation in the same area is going to make someone any money.
I am constantly amazed how many new experts there are out there who know all the answers.
I know I know a lot more about manuka than any of them and I also know enough to know that no way I know everything.
 

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It has always been my understanding that the bees prefer other floral sources ahead of manuka, so interesting to hear otherwise.  

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1 hour ago, john berry said:

I do know that bees like manuka nectar and if it is available they will work it in preference to almost anything else if it is yielding.

 

1 hour ago, john berry said:

and that native bees can take 100% of the nectar leaving nothing for the bees

 

i have to disagree on that.

in my experience there is other sources they much prefer. this seams to be echo'd by other beeks in other areas. if there is competing sources they tend to ignore manuka.

i've got sites at the mo where theres rarely a bee on the manuka, yet they are pulling boxes of something else.

 

considering honey bees out populate native bees by a huge margin, there must be stuff all nectar around for them to take it all.

 

one of the things i get is clover has been out in flower for a while now, but doesn't produce until temps go up enough.

what can happen is if it warms up really quickly, the bees will not touch the manuka or kanuka, but will get into clover. ie the temps go up past manuka/kanuka temps and into clover temps.

 

i've mentioned the story before, we had a site right in the manuka (and a lot of kanuka), but all we got was clover. they flew a long way to go get it to.

funny thing is that site is now surrounded by hundreds of hives chasing manuka.

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6 minutes ago, tristan said:

in my experience there is other sources they much prefer. this seams to be echo'd by other beeks in other areas. if there is competing sources they tend to ignore manuka.

i've got sites at the mo where theres rarely a bee on the manuka, yet they are pulling boxes of something else.

 

John has qualified his statement  with "if it's yielding" . How to determine that I wonder ?

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1 hour ago, tristan said:

 

 

i have to disagree on that.

in my experience there is other sources they much prefer. this seams to be echo'd by other beeks in other areas. if there is competing sources they tend to ignore manuka.

i've got sites at the mo where theres rarely a bee on the manuka, yet they are pulling boxes of something else.

 

considering honey bees out populate native bees by a huge margin, there must be stuff all nectar around for them to take it all.

 

one of the things i get is clover has been out in flower for a while now, but doesn't produce until temps go up enough.

what can happen is if it warms up really quickly, the bees will not touch the manuka or kanuka, but will get into clover. ie the temps go up past manuka/kanuka temps and into clover temps.

 

i've mentioned the story before, we had a site right in the manuka (and a lot of kanuka), but all we got was clover. they flew a long way to go get it to.

funny thing is that site is now surrounded by hundreds of hives chasing manuka.

I also know sites in waikato and east cape area that bees will fly over manuka to other nectar sources, have checked the manuka in those areas and yes there is nectar in the flower but other sources are either more better for what the bees need/want or just that much more prolific so bees go nuts.

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1 hour ago, tristan said:

 

 

i have to disagree on that.

in my experience there is other sources they much prefer. this seams to be echo'd by other beeks in other areas. if there is competing sources they tend to ignore manuka.

i've got sites at the mo where theres rarely a bee on the manuka, yet they are pulling boxes of something else.

 

considering honey bees out populate native bees by a huge margin, there must be stuff all nectar around for them to take it all.

 

one of the things i get is clover has been out in flower for a while now, but doesn't produce until temps go up enough.

what can happen is if it warms up really quickly, the bees will not touch the manuka or kanuka, but will get into clover. ie the temps go up past manuka/kanuka temps and into clover temps.

 

i've mentioned the story before, we had a site right in the manuka (and a lot of kanuka), but all we got was clover. they flew a long way to go get it to.

funny thing is that site is now surrounded by hundreds of hives chasing manuka.

They certainly prefer rata to manuka / kanuka 

Even though it flowered in my area there was none in the hives .

Looks like no rata this year . Some beeks will be pleased .

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Your lucky if you keep bees somewhere where honeybees outnumber the native bees. I have several sites where it's about 1000 to 1 in favour of the native bees. Every area is going to be different but I have kept hives in a lot of different manuka areas and have even seen bees go straight past rewarewa  in full flower to work manuka. If bees aren't working manuka there is a reason but them not liking it is not one of them.
 It can be white with clover and it doesn't always yield either. Why bees work flowers sometimes and not others can be a mystery.

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Many years ago manuka blight was deliberately introduced from Australia to try and eradicate one of New Zealand's worst pasture weeds. My father said that the results of this were magical and for the next few years the bees got clover honey which they were able to sell instead of worthless manuka.

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there was the bit at the conference a few years ago which had a bit about a study on what nectar bees prefer. something about sucrose ratio ?????

but certainly bees are nectar selective, but not pollen selective.

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4 minutes ago, john berry said:

Your lucky if you keep bees somewhere where honeybees outnumber the native bees. I have several sites where it's about 1000 to 1 in favour of the native bees. Every area is going to be different but I have kept hives in a lot of different manuka areas and have even seen bees go straight past rewarewa  in full flower to work manuka. If bees aren't working manuka there is a reason but them not liking it is not one of them.
 It can be white with clover and it doesn't always yield either. Why bees work flowers sometimes and not others can be a mystery.

I always see a cloud of native bees around the flowering manuka .

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5 minutes ago, john berry said:

Your lucky if you keep bees somewhere where honeybees outnumber the native bees. I have several sites where it's about 1000 to 1 in favour of the native bees.

around here its not often i see native bees. see more bumble bees.

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We had a site up on The Cape that made my eyes water and my knees tremble when the Manuka came into flower. Oh my goodness what  a beautifull valley. And we poured the bees in.  Stella and the BXPRES worked overtime that year as those 500 horses hauled them bees over the hills to the motherload. And when were don we  washed the taste of Avgas from our lips with the sweet nectar of the Red  Lion and relaxed on our mats  and were filled with peace as we patiently waited for the boxes to fill with Nectar. Which they did in copious amounts.

The only trouble was that it was a bush blend. ?

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12 minutes ago, jamesc said:

We had a site up on The Cape that made my eyes water and my knees tremble when the Manuka came into flower. Oh my goodness what  a beautifull valley. And we poured the bees in.  Stella and the BXPRES worked overtime that year as those 500 horses hauled them bees over the hills to the motherload. And when were don we  washed the taste of Avgas from our lips with the sweet nectar of the Red  Lion and relaxed on our mats  and were filled with peace as we patiently waited for the boxes to fill with Nectar. Which they did in copious amounts.

The only trouble was that it was a bush blend. ?

I wonder how much manuka is on conservation land that will not have bees on it this season.

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21 minutes ago, john berry said:

Your lucky if you keep bees somewhere where honeybees outnumber the native bees.

 I thought we were over saturated with beehives last year, but still they flood in.

No, were not lucky at all here in Northland, I'd love it if the natives were all the competion we had at this end.

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6 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

I wonder how much manuka is on conservation land that will not have bees on it this season.

Not sure ..... We are not chasing the Manuka this year. I figure if I can get 80 kg's of honey off another tree crop and don't have to fly the bees in and pay a concession or site fee I might actually make a dollar, assuming I can sell the honey.

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2 hours ago, yesbut said:

John has qualified his statement  with "if it's yielding" . How to determine that I wonder ?

 

There will be bees on the flowers.

 

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1 minute ago, Apihappy said:

 

There will be bees on the flowers.

 

where is the sylvan reserve ?

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Hi James. All up about six acres of mixed costal regrowth in the Waitakeres. Mainly Kanuka and Rewa Rewa, Agathis on the ridge. Lots of Puriri, Nikau (we must have 50 on our acre) and Harakeke in the swamp and Ti. Absolutely no Manuka, it will not grow here, we put in dozens when we cleared up the land,as an establisher, but they all carked. 

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11 minutes ago, Apihappy said:

Hi James. All up about six acres of mixed costal regrowth in the Waitakeres. Mainly Kanuka and Rewa Rewa, Agathis on the ridge. Lots of Puriri, Nikau (we must have 50 on our acre) and Harakeke in the swamp and Ti. Absolutely no Manuka, it will not grow here, we put in dozens when we cleared up the land,as an establisher, but they all carked. 

Sounds nice .... I love the climate up north. Life seems to be sweeter when you don't have to light the fire on a November morning for that first cup of coffee.

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6 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Sounds nice .... I love the climate up north. Life seems to be sweeter when you don't have to light the fire on a November morning for that first cup of coffee.

Stay in bed until someone else makes that first cup

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5 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Sounds nice .... I love the climate up north. Life seems to be sweeter when you don't have to light the fire on a November morning for that first cup of coffee.

but you will gag on northlands humidity.

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1 minute ago, yesbut said:

Stay in bed until someone else makes that first cup

No one else drinks coffee Grrr .... 'cept the mother in law but she don't get up early !

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3 minutes ago, tristan said:

but you will gag on northlands humidity.

came in humid here this afternoon ..... stripped off two layers of polyprop  at lunch time which left me with two ..... which was just nice . Ready for the frost tonight.

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17 minutes ago, tristan said:

but you will gag on northlands humidity.

My daughter lives in adelaide it gets very hot , but it is dry .

She has no idea about how humidity can add 10 degrees onto a temp in terms of energy sapping heat .

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i did an accidental experiment on bee honey preference. i had a nuc with 5 frames of capped honey, 3 bush/clover 2 manuka... with typical absentmindedness i left the nuc outside.

 

when Id got back at the end of the day it was robbed out the 3 bush/clover frames 100% stripped clean.

 

The two manuka ones, other than a couple of little tears in the odd cap were entirely untouched

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